There’s nothing better than spending time with family during the holidays, so I thought I would sketch a family member of my own. While certainly some human members of our families can be rather furry depending on their shaving habits, today, I’m talking about the four-legged variety. This is a little dog named Radar that my niece initially had, which I guess would make him my great-nephew. My niece is a rock star dog trainer, whose talents are much sought-after and she actually has several dogs. As little Radar was aging it was determined he would prefer a quieter environment so he was adopted by my sister. Which now, I guess makes him my nephew. But I still think he’s really great. Philippe is also quite a fan and the two of them can usually be found cuddling in a corner together at family gatherings (don’t tell Phineas, as he would only disapprove). It’s rather hard to stare into those deep soulful eyes and not be filled with lots of love. He’s 14 years old, but unlike my teenage family members, this simply means he won’t be around much longer. So, I figured I should capture him in my sketchbook, paying homage to the fact that he’s captured my heart.
When Philippe first met my family, he seemed quiet and almost shy to them. They are much more boisterous and outgoing, so those initial moments were a bit awkward. But then, they saw him cuddle up next to Radar and this told them everything they needed to know. And they wholeheartedly approved. So, that’s yet another reason to adore this little dog, who I only now realize was perfectly named Radar, detecting the presence of a future family member and sending a sending of approval. Philippe and I have actually only been together for 7 years this month, exactly half of little Radar’s life. And I wish I could see this tiny family member along with the rest of my family more often. But, our families are miles and oceans away from us, and we only get to see them once or twice a year. So, each moment is like a special gift. The kind that doesn’t come wrapped in paper but simply wrapped in love and appreciation. I long for those moments when Philippe and I are reunited with family and no matter how many days we can manage to find, it never feels like enough time.
If you happen to live close to your family and get to see them often, give them a huge hug when you see them next! And if you see them in a way that feels like it’s way too often and you wished you live farther away, then hug and hold them even closer. Trust me on this one. You have received the best gift life has to offer. And when it comes to our little pets, there’s even less time to enjoy. Each morning when I wake up and before I go to bed, I grab our dog Phineas and hold him close. He whimpers, at first, with a bit of irritation, but I ignore it. He eventually relaxes and enjoys the dose of attention. And, I quietly pet him and whisper, “I love you” into his ear as though he might understand what that means. I have to believe that he does, though, and will remember it until it’s his time to depart. In many ways, I think doing this also might make him stick around a bit longer. If he only knows how much he’s needed, perhaps he’ll fight to stay around as long as possible. It’s certainly been proven with humans, which is why I recommend those loving hugs. And as I myself grow older, I’m happy for the wisdom that I’ve gathered over time. Yes, even the bits that were only acquired from those rare moments with my furry family members.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click Here!
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!