There were lots of great things to celebrate today, but my dog Phineas would kill me if I overlooked a day pretty much dedicated to him, National Pet Day. Actually this isn’t just about existing pets, as they hopefully receive lots of love and attention every day. It’s also about raising awareness of shelter pets who are waiting for a loving forever home or to encourage people to donate to a local animal shelter. Phineas was adopted from a wonderful local shelter called Wayside Waifs six years ago today! He was also the best birthday present I’ve ever received. Not to be left out of the celebration, though, he’s shown here with his pet, adopted from the local supermarket, who goes by the name of Duckie.

Found roaming the tough streets of Topeka, Kansas, this little Basenji has had a wonderfully unique personality from day one. I still remember going to the shelter and seeing a scraggly little dog with hair so coarse it would almost hurt to touch it. I sat down on the floor of his pen to get to know him and within seconds, he leapt into my lap, rolled on his back and stared up at me. If I was at all undecided, it was clear that Phineas had already made the decision for us. I looked down into those mischievous brown eyes that seemed to say, “Dude, let’s get the hell out of here.” And so we did.

His first bit of time spent in his crate, he tore the stuffing out of his bed, which doesn’t seem odd for a dog who is bored. However, after pulling out all of the stuffing, he then re-stuffed it into a different shape, which he found to be more desirable. It felt good knowing I had a dog who was also creative. Though already one and half years old when he arrived, he had the energy, curiosity and enthusiasm of a puppy. It seriously wore me out and made me crazy some days, but I couldn’t fault him as these were also traits we shared.

Early on, he discovered he could hide by crawling under the bed, and I quickly discovered this was actually part of a game of hide ‘n seek he’d invented. I would start by calling out, “Where’s Phineas?” and then I would hear a funny breathing sound under the bed that I swear sounded like a little laugh. It would always take three calls of his name before he would wiggle out from under the bed and jump on top of it with a flourish, his little butt in the air as if he were taking a bow. He has still continued to invent many other games over the years, each with rather questionable and sometimes indecipherable rules, but always wonderfully unexpected and creative.

Phineas wouldn’t meet his pet, until he was four years old and Philippe, while visiting from Paris, bought him Duckie as a birthday present. Duckie doesn’t fair well with all the love Phineas bestows on him and has been replaced over 12 times now. Phineas himself, is thankfully a much more durable pet and I can happily say he is still the original. And as crazy as he still is, I wouldn’t have him any other way. I’m glad he decided to come home with me back then. My life got a whole lot better that day. And, as is often the case with shelter animals, in the end, it’s nearly impossible to determine who actually rescued who.

Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on at the end of the month! 

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Azo Orange, Pyrrol Red, Permanent Pale Green, and Nuetral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink and second pen with sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

63 replies on “National Pet Day

  1. Awh! Love your Phineas story! You adopted each other. I love the way he told you that you were the one and said “Let’s get the hell outta here!” Charlie is still quite full of energy – sometimes he will just go flying by running all by himself. LOL! A beautiful doodlewash of your boy! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always extra special when you bump into these charming creatures and they choose you. Eeeee!!! ❤ What a totally beautiful Phineas doodlewash, adorably looking after his own, and what an equally beautiful post. I genuinely can't stop smiling, he's so cool (and hilarious)! Go Phineas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t it absolutely true that we are rescued by our pets more than we rescue them. Phineas is adorable, and I bet Duckie used to be cute, before he was so well loved. The painting is full of love and charm – you’ve out done yourself on this one, Charlie. Lucky family. Everyone should have a family like this.

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  4. Phineas has quite the personality! I loved hearing about your game of hide and seek! 🙂 My cat also plays hide and seek with me. And I agree the “rules” of the game don’t always make sense! Lol! Wonderful doodlewash of your sweet dog, Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have now seen several Phineas portraits and this is the cutest yet! It’s funny how they find us! We found our Vince at the Humane society or he actually found us. He was heavily matted and had a horrible hair cut so we couldn’t really see how cute he really was. 8 years later, Vince is still with us. I hope we can give our pets the love that they willingly give us!! 💕😘❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kari!! 😃💕 I think this one captured him really well. And the likeness on Duckie turned out okay too! That’s so sweet that Vince found you! (Great name by the way) It’s really quite a transformation isn’t it when an animal gets proper care and lots of love?! 😃


  6. Beautiful painting, so tender and sweet to look at. The story of Phineas is a loving, fantastic, heart melting and tear inducing tale…makes me want to hug all four of you, (yes, I am including Duckie). Thank you for sharing the joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww he is adorable, I go weak at the knees for sticky up eared dogs, I love this breed, but they are not too popular in the uk. I rescued my dog, having not a clue of what breed, just a size and personality, then she Called me, quietly, from a distance from the other needy dogs ‘ woohoo, over here, ‘ wagging her tail. I found my best buddy, kelpie X lab, Cassie.

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  8. Just catching up with everyone’s blogs and this was the first post that I saw and it has now put a smile on face for the rest of the day. What a wonderful picture and story to go with it, thank you for sharing Charlie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is so beautiful Charlie! A great love story with Phineas! Recued animal are amazing pets and yes our pets always make our life bette,r I have more than one pet and I can say they are all beautiful and love givers amazing companions! Life change when you welcome a pet! Your doodlewash of Phineas is beautiful and very sweet! Happy pet Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Phineas, canine dog,
    My Human showed me your picture. It is very nice. Your Human is better than my human who didn’t acknowledge this special day. You have trained your human really well. My human needs more training. She’s a slow learner.

    You should write the instructions for some of your human-training games.

    Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET
    Canine Dog Therapist, Retired

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Freddie, canine friend,
      I was thrilled to receive your note, but deeply saddened by your human’s lack of respect for this important day. As for tips, I highly recommend teaching her how to play ball. Simply have her throw it, then get it a couple times to show her how it’s done and on the third, stare at her until she tries getting it on her own. It may take a few tries, particularly if she’s slow as you say, but she’ll eventually get it. This is always the first step to proper human training. Until she masters playing ball, it’s not advised to move to the next steps. Best of luck and keep in touch.
      Phineas “Finn” O’Shields, GET, BAL
      Celebrity Dog and Human Trainer


  11. Dear Phineas “Finn” O’Shields, CD, HT

    My human will not fetch balls, just stares at me, mumbling “fetch”, “fetch”. She’s cuddly but not very smart. However, I have trained her to fetch cartons of ice cream from the freezer. It’s a win-win for both of us.

    Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT, RET

    Liked by 1 person

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