Let’s End the Week with a Dog…Meet Maxwell

November 24, 2012

See the post for full details.

Above: Maxwell sleeping next to me on the sofa. Staedtler Pigment Liner on Gutenberg paper (6 x 8 inch journal 12 inch wide spread).

Every so often a friend will leave me in charge of his or her dog. Gasp. I love it when that happens. Walking and sketching and walking and sketching. I get to have some dog energy in the house, all while having a life model.

Maxwell is a small rat terrier (wait maybe he's a Jack Russell I'll have to ask—I don't know a lot about little dogs!). You can't see it here because his blanket hides his mouth but he has a front tooth that sticks up outside his lip and gives him a bit of a sneer—he looks very jaunty, like a pirate (a fictional one, not a real pirate who might do you harm). 

His family was going out of town for the day so I nabbed him for two overnights, I mean really, why shouldn't they drop him off early and then not worry about him when they returned the next day after a long drive. Ha, cunning plan.

We had great fun. Despite being told he didn't like rain he was perfectly happy walking in the drizzling conditions of that weekend. He adapted immediately to the amenities here. He identified Dick as the soft touch within 30 seconds of meeting Dick, and they bonded over cheese. Mostly he cuddled with me and we went on adventure walks. It was delightful. And he was so well-behaved. When it was bedtime I told him to go into his crate and in he got. (Actually a couple times when I had to do something on the computer he got into his crate to rest happily too.) I was told he was a barker but only late one night when partying college students walked by did he "woof." "Thank you Maxwell," I called out from bed, and he was immediately silent. (Evidently if you don't say thank you he'll keep barking.)

I made a number of sketches of him while he was model in residence. I hope to do some paintings of him later this fall. But today I just wanted to share the memory with you. There is something so exquisite about small dogs with their tiny paws, and their elegant features. And you can pick them up and cuddle them so completely. And there is something delightful about the clicking of dog nails on the tile and wood floors—regardless the size of the dog.

    • Cate in Dundee
    • November 24, 2012

    What a sweetie! And I agree, what a treat, to babysit a dog—almost like having a grandchild—you get to enjoy them and then you can pass them back. 😉

    That last sentence is lovely, Roz.

  1. Reply

    Sounds like a delightful time was had by all. Great sketch!

    • Lida
    • November 24, 2012

    Roz, So happy that you had such a joyful weekend with your four legged guest hes so darn cute! But all animals are like this just take a peice of youre heart and youre the better for it:)
    Have a great day,

  2. Reply

    I didn’t think about that Cate, but I guess it is like having a grandchild—you get the fun and not the “issues.” Though I have to say sometimes dogs come to me and they need a little bit of training. But not Maxwell. He was good to go.

    Glad you liked that last line. For years after Dottie died I could still hear her toenails as she walked throughout the house. Sometimes I still can hear them, but not like before. It is the best noise to hear, that and the lovely expelling of breath as a dog relaxes down into nap position under a table (i.e., in a den).

  3. Reply

    Good, I’m glad I remembered correctly. He is very sweet. Don’t you love his little crooked smile! (which you’ve seen in person)

  4. Reply

    OH what fun to doggy-sit and what a lovely sketch of him too! I puppy-sit on occasion for my daughter when they go away for a weekend. I also doggy-sat for my son recently. Yes, I LOVE dogs! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Thanks Cheryl. Yep too much fun. I’m very grateful that people trust me with their dogs. You know you learn a lot about a person taking care of their dog, not just about the dog. Some people forget that. I have lots of brave friends.

  6. Reply

    Lida it was a great weekend. I prefer to think of it as animals activating parts of my heart, making those parts more receptive to life—rather than the animal taking parts of one’s heart. I think we are in agreement that we are all the better for it.

  7. Reply

    Serena, next time you puppy sit, when the puppy gets all tired out (if you aren’t too tired) I hope you get to sketch too. I’m glad that you can do this for your daughter and your son when they are traveling. It’s hard to leave our dogs behind.

    • Miss T
    • November 25, 2012

    Oh Roz, this makes me very happy! Maxwell just adores you and Dick, and you captured him perfectly!!

  8. Reply

    Thank you Miss T, this is probably the sketch I like the best. He is adorable. I’m glad you like this one. I hope he is coping with the colder temps.

    • Cate in Dundee
    • November 26, 2012

    Roz, your comment above about animals activating parts of your heart and making you more receptive to life—I think that’s very profound. Sadly, I think that our modern urban lifestyles often hinder many people from having that kind of nourishing contact with animals, whether they be pets, farm animals, or wild animals. Farm animals in particular, whose existence we take so much for granted and often value so little, have much to teach us about life and love and true wisdom.

  9. Reply

    Cate, I use every opportunity I can to see and sketch farm animals and learn something about them. I think it’s important if I’m going to be a carnivore that I understand the full extent of my choice.

    I also spend an inordinate amount of time studying invasive species like the pigeon and various gulls. Transplants who adapt.

    I feel in my own life the statement I made about animals opening our hearts is accurate, but I continue to try to understand what it all means as a carnivore in an urban setting.

    My vegetarian friends would argue that I haven’t pushed far enough, but I know I have pushed as far as my mind and heart will go on that score and the boundary was set in part by living with two committed carnivores (Emma and Dottie).

    And I have lost count of how many dogs and cats owned by vegetarians have been poorly treated.

    So there is a huge aspect of modern urban life to explore (and it’s too late for me to do it tonight with any coherent thought). But it is something that I think about daily, especially when I ride my bike like I did last week (it’s now icy and cold) and a flock of crows rises up from the field beside the path and one chooses to ride right on my shoulder, wing tips touching my helmut, playing with me for a mile, pushing me to go faster, companionable.

    I worry about bird flu not because I worry I’ll get sick (I’ve had a version). I worry about bird flu because of what it will do to the birds and how man will respond, over respond, and eliminate them from their lives more completely—sometimes our environments are too hostile, my massage therapist told me that there were no song birds in the cities she visited in China.

    I know that if I didn’t have wild birds in my life every day I would go mad. But then I seek out interaction with wild birds every day too.

    And on and on.

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