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 doodlewash.com 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
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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!