National Pet Day

National Pet Day - Doodlewash watercolor illustration of basenji dog and duck toy

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

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Shari Blaukopf 7 years ago

    I adopted my dog Alice from a rescue agency here in Montreal called Rosie’s. Thanks for letting us know about Phineas. Great story Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Shari! 😃💕 I’m so glad you liked this post! And Alice is a doll…I remember your awesome sketches of her. So sweet! Rescue dogs are the best!

  2. Jodi 7 years ago

    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

    • Author

      Wait…at first I thought you were talking about me. I do that sometimes. 😊lol Thanks Jodi!! 😃💕 glad you liked this one! And we all know that I’m not the only lucky Charlie out there. Yours is so lucky to have you as a mom!

  3. Jacob 7 years ago

    It’s always extra special when you bump into these charming creatures and they choose you. Eeeee!!! <3 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!

    • Author

      Hehe…it truly!! Thanks Jacob!! I’m sure the same will happen to you when you meet that seal of your dreams. He’ll be demanding to come home with you at once! 😉

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        I wanna play hide and seek with Phineas! Though I know he’d just stare at me with a look of “Er, you ain’t Charlie.”

        Haha, oh can you imagine? (swoons) One day, one day! I’ll be like that interesting woman we found ages ago with her devoted seal friend. This one!


  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 years ago

    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.

    • Author

      Awww thanks Sharon! 😃💕We’re a happy little family. Even Duckie 12 seems happy, but that could just be how his face is sewn. But Phineas is definitely one special little dog!

  5. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      Hehe…yeah…the rules are such a mystery, but I guess that’s all part of the fun! At least for them. To make us look silly! Hehe Thanks so much Jill! 😃💕I’m glad you liked this!! It was fun to try doodlewashing Phineas again after a bit more practice.

  6. Carol 7 years ago

    There is nothing like the unconditional love a dog can give. Dogs can be such good judges of character, and Phineas knew just what he was doing when you “rescued” him 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Carol! 😃💕That’s so sweet of you to say! Yeah… it was cool he picked me. Hope I didn’t disappoint him. Other than my complete stupidity when it comes to his games, he seems super happy! Hehe

  7. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    What can I say? Truly wonderful Charlie. 🙂

  8. Samantha 7 years ago

    Loved reading this story! Made me smile 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Oh what a lovely story about Phineas and you, Charlie. I think we all have favorite stories about our dear sweet pets. Thanks for sharing and I love your doodlewash of Phineas.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! 💕😃Glad you liked this! I figured I should try a second time to doodlewash him. I liked how this one turned out much better!

  10. Kari 7 years ago

    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!! 💕😘❤️

    • Author

      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?! 😃

  11. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    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.

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Haunani! 😃💕 extra special thanks for including Duckie! Phineas would like that…he’s loved every version as far as I can tell. Thrilled you enjoyed this post! Thanks my friend!

  12. Teri C 7 years ago

    Oh, I just lobe your story. Just love it! So sweet and what every animal deserves. Right on who rescued whom

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Teri!! 😃💕So happy you liked this!! Phineas is such a sweet little dog…couldn’t have ask for a better dog to rescue me.

  13. M. L. Kappa 7 years ago

    Phineas is too cute! What would life be without a dog – I’m curled up with mine as we speak.

  14. 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.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! Yeah… I really love basenjis… my last dog as a lab / basenji mix. 😃💕That’s so sweet that your dog called to you! Cassie sounds like a wonderful little friend to have indeed!

  15. What a smashing post. Thanks for sharing P’s story. We miss having a dog – perhaps we should swing by the Dog’s Trust again soon…

    • Author

      Thanks Michael! Glad you liked this! 😃 Yeah, you definitely need to check into getting another dog! They’re the best!!

  16. Rebecca 7 years ago

    This picture is so evidently made with love. And thanks for giving us the story too – completely heartwarming! 🙂

  17. greenmackenzie 7 years ago

    What a delightful post….it sounds like a perfect match between the two of you😋

  18. Tori 7 years ago

    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 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Tori! 😃💕That makes me happy! Glad you liked this. It was a wonderful day to celebrate. Phineas is an awesome dog!

  19. memadtwo 7 years ago

    Great story Charlie. And a wonderful painting of Phineas that reflects his specialness! My favorite “day” so far. (K)

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕This was a fun one as I really wanted to try another portrait of him now that I’ve had some practice. Love that little dog!

  20. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    *sniffle*! I’m so glad you and Phineas (and Philippe and Duckie) all found each other and are one big happy family! <3 <3

    • Author

      Aww thanks, Teresa! 😃💕We’re a great little family! Duckie is a little worrisome what with all the medical bills, but those are too expensive to worry about given the fact he’s a supermarket duck. hehe

  21. Snehal Kank 7 years ago

    Charlie Love your Phineas story! I can see Phineas’s innocence through your illustration 🙂 Charlie I really like how you add some informative info along with illustration in your every post! 👍

    • Author

      Aww thanks Snehal! 😃💕So happy liked this doodlewash and my little stories! Phineas is quite a fabulous dog. It was lucky we found each other!

  22. YesterdayAfter 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Carolina! 😃💕 So happy you liked this post! Pets truly are the best thing in the world, aren’t they? Loved that they got their own day! Though I’m learning there’s a day for everything, so it’s not surprising I guess! Hehe

      • YesterdayAfter 7 years ago

        Yes they are the best thing in the world their love it’s so unconditional I am glad there is a day to celebrate them! 🙂

  23. dapplegrey 7 years ago

    Love this from start to finish. May you have many many more happy years together!

  24. Jui 7 years ago

    Love that name – Phineas! 🙂 wish I had a pet…beautiful painting and story!

  25. Curious to the Max 7 years ago

    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

    • Author

      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

  26. Curious to the Max 7 years ago

    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

  27. wendymuldon 7 years ago

    All hugs to all my pets. Everything they give to us everyday should be respected.
    In my case I have the luck to live with two dogs and two cats

  28. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    He’s adorable! So glad you gave each other a new chance at happiness. Pet adoptions are the best for both parties!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      I agree! It’s so wonderful when you get a chance to rescue one another! 😃💕

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