For our Doodlewash prompt of “Bonfire,” paired with the Inktober prompt of “Ash,” we have what is no doubt my oddest doodle yet this month. I decided to sketch a bonfire attended by our dog Phineas and his friends. Philippe and I have crafted elaborate narratives for the set of creatures that occasional show up on our balcony. We assume they must be there to visit Phineas, so we’ve given them names and backstories. The tiny nondescript squirrel in the background is Phineas’ best friend Michael. He comes round the most, but looks a bit different each time, so we’re not actually sure if it’s the same squirrel. Phineas doesn’t seem to notice or care about the small differences. The only quarrel they’ve ever had between them came when Phineas hired Michael as his publisher for his book entitled “Good.” Michael, being a squirrel, got distracted by nuts and never managed to publish it. Thoroughly miffed, Phineas decided to go with a new publisher, this time in the form of a black cat named Cindy. He was certain that with her no-nonsense demeanor she would succeed where Michael had failed. After seeing that his book was simply the word “good” on every single page and no other text, Cindy refused to publish it. Phineas disagreed with her assessment, but is now currently working on a rewrite, because, well, Cindy scares the hell out of him.
The raccoon is named Bob, and his claim to fame was once having a horrible habit of pooping just outside the door of our second floor balcony. Bob and Phineas used to play poker, but Phineas swears that Bob owes him money and stopped going to the door to greet him. Thankfully for us, this meant bumbling Bob stopped visiting us and we no longer had to clean up after him.
And, of course, in the foreground is Phineas himself, wondering how the heck he ended up with such an odd menagerie of pals. Notably missing from this assortment is another dog as Phineas doesn’t really like other dogs. Many of them he thinks might actually be pets, so assumes they won’t have much in common. Only one dog in his life has attracted his attention and that was during a brief period where he dated a Shiba Inu named Keiko. She moved on, and he’s yet to find a suitable replacement. Most of these stories are fueled by Phineas’ own odd and unique wonderful demeanor. He is always in his own little world. Perhaps he’s just an artist, after all.
Last night, Philippe and I had a wonderful evening of presents and food to celebrate his birthday. Phineas was convinced it was his birthday and kept pawing at us for a present. In truth, his birthday was on October 8th, or thereabouts as he was a rescue so we don’t know the precise date. Perhaps it really was his birthday yesterday, in which case we were terribly rude for not getting him anything. Regardless of the exact day, he most likely just turned 11 years old. Though he’s had a few health scares recently, he’s currently doing just fine. Better than fine, actually, now that Philippe is preparing all of his food for him. I’ve never seen a dog so excited to eat, but I really can’t blame him as I too adore Philippe’s cooking. Yet, I know there’s just a few precious years left to spend with this exceptional basenji. And some day in the future, we’ll get a visit from a squirrel and have to tell Michael that Phineas isn’t with us anymore. But, that would be lie. Of course, Phineas will always be with us, along with every version of Michael that appears. That’s the power of storytelling. The stories we tell are the memories we get to keep. And so, I’m quite happy to know that I’ll never forget this little dog, thanks to the story of Phineas and friends.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!