That Next Hug

Puppy With Teddy Bear Jack Russell Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Puppy” today, I made a sketch of a little Jack Russell puppy cuddling up with a teddy bear. When I was a kid, my mother used to make me teddy bears, and I had one in nearly every color. My mom and I share April birthdays, but we haven’t been able to see each other in nearly a year due to the pandemic. She and my sister will be visiting in a couple of weeks and we’re all vaccinated now, so there will finally be hugs as well! I’ve always loved the simple things in life, but now there are things I cherish more than ever. Little things that were so commonplace that I often took them for granted. I’m just a big kid at heart, as many of you know, and I’m generally fascinated by each little thing in the world! But I’ve learned that there are some little things that are more precious to me than I even realized. I know my mother isn’t reading this as she doesn’t have a computer, but I hope she’s ready for the biggest hug ever soon!

Last month one of my best friends gave me a gift for my 50th birthday that was truly special. She has a friend who owns a company called Happy Habitat that makes the most amazing blankets. And the blanket she gave me was extra special as she had helped design it herself. At that moment, there were only two in the world; one that she had and one that I had. It made my heart smile so much when I received it, but it didn’t fully occur to me until I got home that we haven’t hugged in more than a year. We will again soon, of course, but having that blanket felt like getting that hug again. Just one little special moment only shared by the two of us. I think that’s why I like hugs. The world is so loud, busy and chaotic. Having the briefest of moments to shut it out and just focus on love between two people is one of the greatest gifts in the world.

While I do hug Philippe, my dog Phineas is not really very cuddly. While some dogs might want to jump in your lap, he instead wants the occasional pat on the head and then to be generally left alone. Sometimes, however, he’s in a mood for a bit more, but it’s nearly impossible to know how long such things will last before he determines it’s all gotten weird and shakes you off. Yet, he once had a stuffed duck that he cuddled all the time during the months that Philippe was still living in Paris. It’s now been over two years since we’ve visited our family in France and miss them so much. They would tease me about my “big American hugs,” but my sister-in-law just texted me recently saying just how much she misses them. Though it may still be awhile before we return to Paris, I’m happy that we’re able to stay connected. Yet, one day in the future, things will improve and life will be a new normal. And, I know that in this new life, I’ll never take anything for granted again. Especially, that next hug.

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Puppy With Teddy Bear Jack Russell Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. writerleenda 6 months ago

    Charlie you got both shots of vaccine already? Awesome. Yep hugs are wonderful and it is a paradox that right about the time hugs became popular so did the rule that you can’t touch people (your students, etc). We Italians know all about hugs of course and I am happy to see that the rest of the world caught on (Me arrogant? Nooo!).
    Take care and stay well.

    • Marisela Delgado 6 months ago

      Hola, Linda! Warm hugs to you, my friend. Abrazos is hugs in Spanish. I hope you are well. I am fully vaccinated also. If only everyone else would do the same. Come on, Texas! I have a friend in the Spanish Canary Islands and a friend in India, who both desperately want to be vaccinated and here they go unused. Shameful! 🏵 We’ve been hammered by severe storms and flooding. First, we got unprecedented snow and now crazy storms. Sending you vaccinated hugs.

      • writerleenda 6 months ago

        Hey Marisela! Snow now is blasphemy. Ewww. Yes abrazos to you as well — just like our abracchi in Italian. Ha ha vaccinated hugs yes.

        Yes their govt really let them down in India by loosening the rules. Imagine doing that to their own people. Sounds like you are doing well, you sound happy. We are all fine here too. I go out for my daily stomp (well when it isn’t windy and cool like today. Listen to this, Wed. is supposed to be 22C and 21C Thurs, and then on Fri and Sat 12C. Supposed to be wonky til second half of May.

        And I still have not figured out how to let anyone into my messages thing so ppl are likely getting their feelings miffed. Oops.

        Stay well.

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

        Sending you hugs, Marisela! 😃💕 Goodness… the weather needs to calm down there! Ugh… well…it’s likely going to get very warm again this summer though! 😉

        • Marisela Delgado 5 months ago

          Hola, Charlie! We had huge hail! Here at the house, we had 5 inch hail, Charlie! It was HUGE and loud! Thankfully, it didn’t last long! Hondo, Texas (90 miles West of us) got hail the size of a small melon! At the end of our street is an insurance agency and the owner/agent is named Ray. He said that he had a client whose house had a bowling ball sized hail go through his roof, attic, second floor floor, first floor ceiling, and first floor floor, and ended up under the house! Holy moley! He wrote them a $40,000 check from the insurance for repairs! One like that can kill someone! It was crazy, but, if I’m honest, I love great storms like that. The lightning was awesome! Yeah, we’ll be melting soon. 😀 Enjoy pizza Friday! And your weekend! Warm hugs! 💕

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

            Oh my goodness!! Yikes!! That’s crazy hail! I’m so happy to know you’re safe and sound my friend! 😃💕 The weather is insane and so unpredictable lately. It’s sunny here now, but storms are a brewin’ for the weekend and next week. Hugs to you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yep.. both shots and it’s been more than 2 weeks after the last one! hehe… and yay!! And so glad the world got up with Italians. Hugs are awesome!

  2. creatingincolors 6 months ago

    Heartwarming painting and words❤️

  3. Nellie Nellie 6 months ago

    When we finally see each other face to face-hugs-yeah, hugs! I’ll be the one with your book tucked under her arm! I hugged my friend today, first hug besides my husband and parents in 14 months. 🤣 We have some fully vaccinated family and I can hardly wait to hug them! 🤗🤗🤗
    PS the puppy reminds me if our angel puppy-he used to fall asleep “nursing” the nose of his stuffed hedge-hog😆 what a sight! I hope our next puppies are as silly!
    PSS so excited for your family reunion! Please post a pix!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww thanks so much!! 😃💕 hehe… is that my newest book tucked under your arm? I’d love to know what you think of it! Yeah, that next hug means so much more now. Your angel puppy sounds sooo sweet! Love that image!

  4. Sandra Strait 6 months ago

    Yep! Hugs are one of those ‘best things in life are free’ things! Your blanket sounds like it’s really cool! Except of course, it’s probably very warm, lol!

    • Marisela Delgado 6 months ago

      Hola, Charlie! 💜 We are presently getting hammered by crazy storms and rain. Anyway….you are such a great storyteller, Charlie. Your story about Duckie reminded me of my little boy and his Taco Bell Chihuahua. He would throw it up in the air and have me play fetch with him. It would, of course, get ripped and since it was a special promotion, we couldn’t replace it so my mother and I both had to perform surgery on his “Baby.” Trauma Surgery! My mother’s friend gave him her Chihuahua, but it also got torn. We fixed it, but, when he got sick, it was soiled and I had the painful task of throwing it away. So, I wasn’t able to keep any of his toys and that made his passing worse.
      Monster, like Phineas, didn’t like to be touched. Granted, we didn’t raise him touchy feely, but, as a baby, he would climb into the crook of my arm for a nap. Later, it was like, “Awkward!” haha haha
      My “family” isn’t huggy. They’re stiff as a board and just as cold, but I love big hugs. I hope one day to enjoy one of your “big American hugs,” Charlie! You won’t get an “awkward” from me.
      Your blanket sounds lovely, Charlie! What a special gift to cherish. 🏵 Okay, we have hail so I gotta go. And lightning! Much love to you!

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

        Aww sending you the biggest hug my friend!! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed the story of Duckie… yeah, it’s so tough to throw away those well-loved toys. But, the wonderful memories will always be there!! ❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 hehe… indeed… I cranked up the A/C so I could enjoy the blanket properly… then Philippe came by and changed it of course.

  5. Mary Roff 6 months ago

    Adorable puppy and your post says it all, Charlie. I’m just afraid that I may not let go of the first person that gives me a real hug when this madness is over. 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah… I think there are going to very long hugs coming for sure!

  6. Janis Huntley 6 months ago

    Hugs are certainly special. A big hug for you Charlie for creating your new book. I love it! I love the lessons you share in it and of course one special little mouse. Well done. I look forward to your next creation.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Janis!! 😃💕 A huge virtual hug to you! I’m so happy you enjoyed the book! If you get a chance and can leave a review, that would be wonderful. I always try to ask more now… I’m rubbish at marketing. hehe The next one in the series is One Little Dog and it will be out in June! 😉

  7. Mireya 6 months ago

    reminds me of my Roxy I miss her so.

    • Mireya 6 months ago

      a new book? Congrats Charlie always feels good to put a book out in the world that you have been working hard on.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww… our fur babies never leave our hearts! 😃💕

      • Mireya 5 months ago


  8. napkinwriter 6 months ago

    Hi Charlie! You still make me smile. I need to paint something like this as our daughter just got a 10 week old yellow lab and he has these stuffed toys. But he also likes Carl’s toes!!😅

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww I’m so happy I made you smile! 😃💕 you should paint something like this! Hehe… and maybe even Carl’s toes! lol

      • Susan Heffron Hajec 5 months ago

        Great Idea!! I still have the photo. As I post my watercolor I often get the comment, “This makes me happy! or this is a happy painting. I think that’s my nitch — got over the fright of it all and now, I just do happy, and sometimes an “Oh WHERE did THAT come from?”

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

          That’s always the best way! Just DO happy and it all comes together beautifully! 🙂

  9. napkinwriter 6 months ago

    I also wrote and published a book last year. JOURNEY GIRL, Steps in Secrets and Sanctuary, Susan Heffron Hajec. And I remain in love with watercolor and sketching.

  10. napkinwriter 6 months ago

    I have your book in my basket. Mine is available on Amazon as well.

  11. Kathy Delumpa Allegri 6 months ago

    Wonderful, Charlie! I miss all the hugs and look forward to those, as well, once again!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kathy! 😃💕 I know!! I want that closeness again, especially with my closest friends and family.

  12. Gary Middleton 6 months ago

    Great doodle, Charlie. I know what you mean about hugs. I see my mum every week when we take her shopping round to her. We can’t hug or even give her a peck on the cheek. I can’t wait until we can hug our daughters and grandchildren.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah… that’s been the toughest part of all this. I’m excited for those hugs to return!

  13. Pat Boglio 5 months ago

    . So cute.

  14. Fatima Chamkha 5 months ago

    So lovely you puppy hugging the teddy bear.

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 months ago

    The past year of the pandemic has made anyone with a beating heart cherish all that we have even if we are still limited in the actual hugs we can share. I haven’t been around much. I wasn’t ill, but spent about 5 months caring for my two youngest grandchildren in Northern California and found it very hard trying to navigate my iPad. Now back at home and on my familiar desktop computer, I’m catching up with old and new friends, deeply grateful for my health and that of my family, but grieving for all those who have been ill, for those who’ve lost loved ones to Covid. It’s heartwarming to see that you’re still painting lovely, sweet scenes that bring joy. This little puppy reminds me of the paintings you’ve made of Phineas. Someplace in that independent dog of yours beats a heart that loves his family. And family is all that matters.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Welcome back! And so happy to know your family is happy and healthy. It’s been a really tough year, but with love and family, we’ve gotten through it. And yeah, I think Phineas does love his family… he’s just too cool to show it. hehe 😉

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