Since nobody in my house dons a costume for Halloween, in answer to our Doodlewash prompt today, I ended up with a quick doodlewash of a scruffy dog in a dress. Philippe and I were browsing pet costumes the other day, but both agreed that Phineas would sooner die than actually wear one. Though he does enjoy his form-fitted sweaters in winter for the warmth, I doubt he would enjoy any of the silly Halloween costumes we envisioned for him. I can certainly see the allure of dressing a pet up in a costume. Unlike children, you always get to choose the theme no matter how old they become. I’ve no idea if this little dog feels like a princess in this getup, or indeed, if the dog is actually a girl. But it’s fun to imagine that she does feel a bit glamorous and is ready to hit the neighborhood and wow her friends. Replete with an overly elegant walk that clearly says, “you’re not going to get to sniff this butt tonight!” I’m rather sure that pets have no clue what crazy thing their parents have just placed on them, but they certainly feel and appreciate the joy they’ve inadvertently managed to make happen in the process.
Our dog Phineas isn’t quite like other dogs. He doesn’t bark and doesn’t really wag his tail. On rare occasions when he can’t seem to control his famous composure, he will sometimes simply flick his tail back and forth before catching himself and making it stop. We call it the “tick tick” and it’s incredibly cute to see, assuming we don’t blink during the show since it only lasts for a couple of seconds. The fun bit is watching him immediately put on a face of indifference as if to say, “yeah, you’re home, that’s cool. I wasn’t waiting or anything. I have my own things to do.” Yet we know by the “tick tick” that he’s really quite thrilled despite himself. But, with all of the independence, putting a costume on him has always been a bit out of the question. When he was younger, we managed to put a little tie on him once that he wore around for a bit. I’m rather sure he thought it was an award of some kind because he started to slowly strut for a moment, before yanking it off with his teeth. Or perhaps it was our little bits of fawning and light applause that gave him the impression. Either way, he was very pleased with himself for just a few seconds. Tick tick.
I’m not immune to this behavior myself. I’ve done many things in life that are silly, foolish or otherwise ridiculous just to make my friends smile with giddy approval. It feels good! We can’t see our own smiles, after all, so it’s always best to appreciate them on others. And I’ve always been happiest when I know that I’m making the people around me happy as well. So, I’ve no idea if a costume means anything at all to a pet more than the positive energy it creates in the room. But that’s more than enough reason to celebrate it. Anytime happiness happens it’s a really wonderful thing. As I keep sketching and sharing what I make, I hope these doodlewashes and stories make you smile as well. I’m certainly not a master painter and feel a constant sense of awe for others with exceptional talent. My unique talent is the crazy ability to actually show up each and every day to doodlewash and tell stories. And even when my own little approach to art doesn’t seem to quite fit in with whatever current trends and styles are taking place, I’m more than happy to show up to the party, thrilled to simply be there, like a dog in a dress.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Reference Photo: C. Watts. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!