Punda Pie and How I Came to Paint Dogs
My very first dog was Pu, short for Punda, which means "little horse" in Swahili. Pu and I first lived near the Willamette river bike path, and we leash-walked twice everyday on the path by the river (great training for us both). We found that she loved to swim and had a talent for fetching rocks from underwater. Every weekend we spent a day by the river, and I would throw sticks and balls for an hour or so and then I’d pick up my book, and she would continue swimming and start diving for rocks, bringing them to shore, and surrounding me with a ring of river rocks. Some of these rocks were quite big, and she would put on a good show, puffing and snorting coming out of the river, drop it in her carefully chosen location, and then she would be right back in for the next rock. After a an hour or two, she would be shivering, so I’d have to order her to sit in the sun to warm up.
After graduating from college I got a job in graphic design with long hours and quite a bit of travel. Luckily, Pu could come to the office with me when I worked in the evenings, and a coworker took care of Pu while I was traveling. The only problem they had with her was she would escape the back yard, only to lay on their front porch waiting my return. This is where she got the “Pu-dini” moniker! After one trip, I picked Pu up, she was in the back of my truck and I put the gate down to give her a BIG hug hello. I was so happy to see her. Funny how moments are, but this is the moment I fell in LOVE with Pu. Up til them she was my dog, and I took care of her, and took her on lots of walks, but it was in that moment, she snuck her way into the center of my heart and that moment changed my life forever. And Pu-ey, bless her little furry heart, knew....she knew her love was no longer one-sided, and that it was me and her, until forever.
Pu was a very mature dog, and I trusted her completely. This enabled us to have TONS of grand adventures. We climbed several mountains (South Sister, Three Fingered Jack (almost to the top) Diamond Peak). We hiked through lightening and thunder, pouring rain, sleet and snow, hail, she was fearless and loyal. In all of these places she always found a body of water that had some rocks to be extracted. This was her mission in life, emptying the rivers, lakes and streams (and oceans) of those pesky rocks! Endlessly entertaining! She was so easy to please. A walk, 20 or so rock extractions, a meal of dog kibble, and all was right with the world.
Pu worked her dog magic on my then boyfriend Michael and turned him from a dog hater to a mushy (more mushy than me) dog lover. When she died two years after we were married I was painting part time by then, and in my grieving for my best dog friend, found a card of a painting of a black lab that looked just like my Pu-gurl on a couch, with a bone and other toys around. It gave me such comfort. Inspired, I finished my first dog paintings that year. With an enthusiastic response the commissions started coming in! Since then, I have painted 300 or so dog/cat paintings, a couple of goat and llama paintings and probably 50 or more paintings featuring my yellow lab, Chamois.
Thank you Pu, and thank you so much to all the lovely dog and cat people that have commissioned paintings, and that have given me the pleasure of painting for, over the years!
Me and Pu canoeing up in the Cascades. She must been swimming and diving for rocks, probably for hours, and needed a nap in the sun to warm up.
Chamois (the "anti-Pu")
Our yellow lab Chamois was a shock after a super smart social dog like Pu. Chamois is 15 years old and still as sassy as ever. Thankfully, she is very pretty which is part of her saving grace. See a selection of Chamois art here.