My favorite pet is actually my current one, and comes in the form of a little brindle basenji. His name is Phineas and with his constant furrowed brow, he always looks a bit concerned about something or other. Indeed, he always has a complete agenda of things he’d like you to do for him next, and if you fail to do so in a timely fashion you get “the look.” This particular look on other dogs might appear quite differently, but on Phineas it clearly says, “you idiot, you really mucked things up again didn’t you.” He simply stares at you with his wrinkled forehead, not so much mad at you, but just rather sad at your complete incompetence. Moments later, if his demands aren’t met, he’ll start pacing the floor and start into a round of cranky sneezes to let you know of his extreme displeasure. It’s all rather comical really, and gives him an overwhelming personality that’s rather infectious. Yet, after all all food has been served and treats have been administered, he becomes a gentle and loving little beast who also won’t turn down a good cuddle.
We took Phineas to the vet recently for his annual check up and his doctor referred to him as a mature dog. He still has all the energy of a puppy so we never stopped to think about the fact that he’s actually middle aged and in dog years, the oldest one in the house. I guess that’s why he thinks he demands a bit more respect than we apparently give him. There are still many years of being ordered around ahead, but for a moment, I was caught off guard. One day, I won’t hear those disapproving sneezes or see that concerned look ever again. Pets are the most wonderful thing in the world, and yet no matter what, they’ll ultimately break your heart. That evening after the vet appointment, I cuddled up next to Phineas and we just laid there together. I kissed his head and whispered, “I love you.” I’m not sure if dogs know what those words really mean, or sometimes, even if humans do, but I know he understood. He turned his head to me and looked me in the eyes, almost nodded his head, and then, sneezed in my face, as if to say, “I’m not dead yet, you sentimental fool.”
No matter how long we have together, I’ll never forget these moments. They’ll be the memories I’ll share for years to come. And that’s the beautiful thing about life. Moments never last forever, but the stories they create can last a lifetime.I’m thrilled to share my life with this little brindle basenji, and I envy him for always knowing exactly what he wants out of life. And today, for you, my lovely readers, I have another memory in the making. I’m giving away 5 Hahnemühle Cézanne, mould-made, 300gsm, 9.44″x12.59″, 10 sheet blocks! These will go to the first 5 of you who let me you want one by commenting below with “Let’s Paint Memories!” and telling me what type of paper you’d prefer to receive, Cold Pressed, Hot Pressed, or Rough (US/Canada only). As Phineas would tell you, it’s always good to ask for precisely what you want out of life. Sneezing about it is probably optional, but I have to admire the logic of the little guy. And I know in my heart, that’s precisely why he’s my favorite pet.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, Quinacridone Red, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Leaf Green, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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!