Punda Pie and why I paint Dogs
My very first dog was Pu, short for Punda, which means "little horse" in Swahili (gleaned that from an OPB special). Pu and I first lived near the Willamette river bike path, and we leash-walked twice everyday on the river path. We found that she loved to swim and had a talent for fetching rocks from underwater. Every weekend we would spend a day by the river. I would throw sticks and balls for a half hour and then pick up my book, and Pu would continue swimming and diving for rocks, bringing them to shore surrounding me with river rocks. Some of these rocks were quite big, and she would put on a good show, puffing and snorting, then drop it in her carefully chosen location. After a while I’d have to make her to sit in the sun for a bit to warm up.
After graduating from college I had 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. She would often escape their 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 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 my dog. Until then she was just my dog, 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 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 disdain-er 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 many many 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 animal lovers that have given me the pleasure of painting their treasured creatures over the years!