Duckie

Duckie by Charlie O'Shields

So, while Philippe was busy creating a wonderful watercolor painting of Corsica, I was sitting next to him doodlewashing a stuffed duck. Meet Duckie. This is the good friend of our dog, Phineas, and you’ll always find him like this, unceremoniously plopped on the floor waiting to be grabbed in Phineas’ teeth at any moment.

Though this may seem like an odd way to treat your friend, Duckie doesn’t seem to mind as his expression stays pleasantly fixed in a blank stare. There’s a game that we’re meant to play with Duckie as Phineas brings him over to show us, but we’ve never been able to figure out exactly how to play it. It’s bits of tug-o-war and fetch, but the exact order is a mystery and, after a few minutes, he just looks at us sadly because he realizes we must be stupid.

Philippe Meets PhineasIf you’re wondering why anyone would doodlewash a dog toy, well there’s a secondary significance to Duckie. He’s the first toy Philippe ever bought for Phineas shortly after they met 3 years ago this month. This is a photo of them meeting for the very first time on Philippe’s first night in Kansas City.  The initial scrutiny would lead to love at first sight and a bond that was unshakable over the next six weeks of Philippe’s visit.

Phineas & DuckieAfter Philippe went back to Paris, Phineas was visibly shaken and sad. Duckie ceased to be a toy and became a stand-in for his newly lost friend. No matter where Duckie had landed in the house, you would find him mysteriously appear again next to Phineas on the couch. He would cuddle up next to him every second he could, occasionally licking him with affection. He did this for a two full months while he waited for Philippe to return.

Whenever I look at Duckie, it brings back all the memories of that time, which were both wonderful and bittersweet. It’s hard to know how to comfort your dog, when you’re also sad for the very same reason. When Philippe finally came back, Phineas was thrilled. He immediately ran off to grab Duckie by the neck and bring him to show Philippe. But Duckie was just a toy again now, their toy, and it was time for two best friends to play.

With the change in Duckie’s status, he soon burst seams and one day while he was once again laying unceremoniously on the floor, he was unceremoniously gutted by Phineas. A sad end for a once prominent member of the family to be sure, but we quickly replaced him with a new one. We’ve been doing this ever since. You’re actually looking at Duckie #10, and he is a spitting image of the first one, as this is the only duck they sell at our downtown grocery store.

When Phineas gets a little too overzealous with Duckie, up to and including attempting to give him a tracheotomy, we simply tell him that Duckie has to “go to the hospital and will be back soon.” This worked well at first, when we actually remembered to grab a duck at the store, but sometimes there is a long delay. Phineas just looks at us sadly assuming we must be poor and therefore do not have very good insurance.

But soon all is restored and we’re one small happy family again. And Duckie remains today a symbol of a time when life was uncertain, but love was never in doubt. Although you won’t find Phineas cuddled up with Duckie these days. And that’s just fine. Instead, he’ll be cuddled up next to Philippe, who went from stranger, to best friend, and eventually the best dad, who, for one little hopeful dog, finally came home.

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! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie
49 Comments
  1. Jessica 2 years ago

    I enjoyed this sweet post Chatlie 😍. You three are so darn cute.

  2. Kari 2 years ago

    I certainly hope that the grocery store doesn’t run out of Duckies.. Would be tragic for Phineas.. 😊 Even though the subjects were very different, it’s wonderful that you and Philippe were able to share the creative process together!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari! 😃😃Yeah it’s pretty fun being able to doodlewash together even when we’re doing really different kinds! Lol And yeah…So far the grocery store duck is standard though once we was a ginger.

  3. Mamabear Chronicles 2 years ago

    Oh, how wonderfully sweet!! Best friends!! 🙂

  4. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    I laughed; I cried…you are a natural born story-teller, Charlie! Love, love, love this story and the doodlewash of Duckie! <3 <3

    • Author

      Awww shucks!! You are too sweet my friend!! ❤️❤️😃Thanks so much Teresa! Glad you like the story of little Duckie! He’s due for another surgery soon, so we’re hoping for the best (meaning…must remember to buy new duck this week!! 😊hehe)

  5. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    Makes perfect sense ~ Duckie, Phin, you and Phil. Doodle doo! : ))) What Teresa said ~ great story and doodlewash

  6. Jacob 2 years ago

    Aw, Charlie, what a moving and totally lovely story wrapped up in this fun drawing. Phineas is so very adorable!!!

    • Author

      He’s a cutie! Definitely worth the price of the bi-monthly duck “surgeries” hehe… thanks Jacob! Glad you liked the story and the doodlewash! 😃😃

  7. Jill Holmes 2 years ago

    Aren’t dogs just the best? And yes. I believe they often are much smarter than we are–at least my dogs always have been. 🙂

    • Author

      They’re truly amazing, Jill!! Such a rewarding experience to have them. And I’m pretty sure Phineas is always one step ahead of us! Lol 😊😉

  8. Moni 2 years ago

    Aw! Such a sweet story ❤️

  9. Gold Standard Test 2 years ago

    Awwww-dorable! <3

  10. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    What a beautiful story and doodlewash. It’s amazing how a small stuffed duck can symbolize so much for your family. 😍

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! ❤️😃Glad you liked this story…Duckie is a pretty special part of the family. (When he’s not just been gutted of course😊🐶)

  11. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Your story was just Ducky, Charlie! Hehe! Super fantastic Doodlewashed Duck! 🎨 And I enjoyed your story very much! Animals are so smart and it sounds like you have a very smart and lucky dog with 2 people to love him! 😊❤️🌟

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! ❤️😃He’s a rather spoiled dog…Philippe’s fault! Hehe…but he’s a sweetheart. (The dog…but Philippe is too actually! 😊) So happy you liked my little doodlewashed Duckie! It was an odd subject, but I saw him on the floor and thought…what the heck! 😉

  12. Jodi 2 years ago

    How cute are you guys?! You keep replacing Duckie! That lucky Phineas! Beautiful doodlewash and even more beautiful story. <3

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jodi!! 😃❤️ Phineas is pretty lucky, but then again…so is your Charlie!! 😉👍🏻 So happy you liked this story!

  13. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Another great story and great sketch.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kirk!! I’m glad you liked this story. It’s what happens when you see a duck laying there and think…oh hey…why not. 😊lol

  14. Tori 2 years ago

    A lovely story to accompany a lovely drawing of a not so lucky duckie 😀

  15. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Duckie looks resigned to his (serial) fate. Another wonderful story. (K)

  16. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Dogs and gutting their toys… We have carnage around here too. Funny dog beds fall victims too! We are now all about antlers. Love this post and dear duckie and his endless replacements! Great painting too!

    • Author

      Oh yeah…antlers are the best. Phineas got a hold of one when he was visiting a friend’s house and loved it! Hehe Glad you liked the post Cathe!! Thanks so much!! ❤️😃

  17. Scribble Fiend 2 years ago

    Ha ha, cute story & doodlewash! Those stuffed toys never last long with my parents’ dog!

  18. […] this little peacock butterfly has managed to fly into my collection and landed directly across from a stuffed duck toy. The only thing they have in common is that they suddenly came into my mind. And finally, I have a […]

  19. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Heart warming and tear inducing…oh, and beautiful painting! Thank you for sharing….hugs to Phineas.

  20. Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

    oooohhhh such a sweet story. So happy for the three of you! well four, counting duckie #10

    • Author

      Thanks so much Rachel!! 💕😃 Yeah well…Duckie #10 is not still in hospital as we have still forgotten to pick up Duckie #11 😊😊hehe

      • Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

        We had to do this with “bunny” for our older daughter, but the company stopped making them just when we realized if we lost it, we would have no backup. And toddlers can raise a ruckus when they are unhappy. Luckily two “cousin bunnies” arrived from Maine via ebay–slightly different colors –and we fortunately never had to use them.

      • Author

        That’s a great story! 😃Those little friends are pretty important. Glad you managed to get backups even if you never had to use them! Lol

  21. […] us. Phineas has been wearing his lovely green Christmas sweater and enjoyed receiving his gift, Duckie #12, which he cuddled up next to each night. This is always how it starts, but we fully anticipate […]

  22. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    The whole story is enchanting but that last paragraph has brought me to tears. A love story all around. And an adorable painting.

    • Author

      Awww thanks Sharon!! 💕Cool you found all the Phineas posts…tells the full story that way. This one was truly a love story inside a love story. Best little family one could hope for. 😊

  23. […] For instance, I doodlewashed my dog’s stuffed duck simply because I saw it lying on the floor and a rather nice story of our family came out of that experience. The worst was last December when I got the crazy idea to try a Choose […]

  24. tgkproductions 9 months ago

    This blog is adorably awesome. Thanks for your art.

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