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Saturday, June 22, 2013


It’s funny how my mind goes sometimes.  “Surveillance?”  I thought about my job watching numbers, and then went out for lunch, went shopping… and somewhere along the line, probably during my inner rage that an artichoke costs $2.50, I envisioned my puppy with Mad-Eye Moody’s electric blue eye.  (That’s a Harry Potter reference for those of you who still haven’t fallen in line with popular literature.) 

“Constant vigilance!” is my puppy in a nutshell.  She patrols our borders and sits on the deck so she can survey our domain in a sweeping, penetrating gaze.  Indoors, she sits on the arm of the couch like a sphinx with an unobstructed view out two windows so she can protect me from children and squirrels.

The other day my brother and I were watching tv, each with our own side projects.  We’d been quiet a while when Bro said, “Did you know Penny caught a groundhog?”  Yay!!!  I hate those blasted varmints.  I put a lot of money into groundhog barriers and barricaded the garden with fence and other defenses, and the stupid things ate my broccoli anyway.  Grrr….

I responded with “I hope you gave her positive reinforcement!”  Bro looked a little disgusted and patted her on the head with an insincere “Good dog”.  I gave her a much more enthusiastic “Good dog!!” and ruffled up her fur.  She strutted with pride.*

After a while Bro said “Did I mention she brought it in the house?”  Well no.  “Where’d you put it?”  “I didn’t put it anywhere.”  “Why didn’t you get rid of it?!”  Bro pointed.  Dead groundhog neatly placed on the floor equidistant between us.  Eww.

Penny reminds me a lot of the original dog, Cindy.  She was half beagle, half poodle.  Her cuteness was on the order of a Llaso Apso, but she was much tougher.  Despite her stubby little beagle legs, she willingly swam across the river and patrolled the woods with me.  She was an outside dog, and aside from her annual haircut, grooming and baths weren’t part of the plan.

Everybody loved Cindy the same way everybody loves Penny.  They share(d) the same “of course everybody loves me!” attitude towards life.  Life must be good as a cute dog.  Both dogs listened to my troubles with the same kindness in their eyes.  Sometimes Penny lets me hold her like a baby and kiss her forehead, which smells a lot better than when I crawled into Cindy’s doghouse and cuddled around her.  It didn’t matter.  I’ll always remember the happiness I felt when my face was snuggled into her sunshine and river fur.

The Penny portrait is a rework of a previous doodle, but even though I bet you think I just whipped out this Cindy portrait, I actually put some thought into it, remembering her endearing qualities.  Sadly, there just aren’t many photos of her around, but her loving brown eyes and soft pink tongue live on in my heart J

*Note: While I care for most wildlife, my pup has permission to kill bunnies, groundhogs, and deer because they’re as friendly to my garden as a bulldozer.  She dutifully leaves my birds alone, and we only had one squirrel incident.  I’m pretty sure the squirrel survived, but now our yard is curiously squirrel-free.


  1. Did your dog insist that you write that disclaimer?

  2. Well Linda you will probably use that electric eye to look out at me as I confess I did not know groundhogs actually existed! I put it into Google images and now I know something that I did not when I woke up this Morning! I wonder what other critters are out there? Penny sounds like the perfect companion and I am glad she is looking out for you. I love that sketch...it really made me smile x

  3. I have to give my dog positive reinforcement for ignoring the birds Josh :)

    I added a link so other people can see what a groundhog looks like too Jane. They'd be cute if they'd leave my garden alone.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. That's funny - that your brother just left the dead rodent where it lay. Around here, we have prairie dogs and other little burrowing things that are not nice to the general landscape. Can I borrow Penny, who sounds like a fine surveyor?? Love the portraits!

  5. Pups are great for snuggling with. Never had one that actually killed anything but my last one had a love affair going with a bunny in the backyard. Really like your illustration with the mad eye this week Linda. A nice style with lots of energy! Kudos!

  6. Your illustration of Penny is so cute! Especially mad Eye moody's vigilant eye. I hope she doesnt't roll it around all the time, that would be a bit scary. Though considering the size of a groundhog in relation to that of Penny, I must say that I am very surprized as to her bravery: she looks smaller than her prey!
    As to the broccoli, I would say good riddance. I would never even consider to grow it in my garden. I am a vegetarian and they are very healthy but even so there are limits... (Forgive me for not sympathizing in this case.)

  7. First, thank you for not naming your new dog Cindy. Haha. Although I did not know any, it seems there were many "Cindy" dogs in the 70s and early 80s. Brady Bunch, perhaps?

    Your illustration is adorable, and such a different style for you! Very quirky and great coloring. It does not look like a quick sketch!

    Dogs really are the best, and we have a cute one as well, and I can confirm that at least our cute dog has a pretty great life!

    I appreciate your note about the wildlife at the end. I don't know about deer though! I know they can be pests but a well aimed kick could do a lot of damage!

  8. Lots of fun energy in the post, the words and image both. Heading out in a minute but I'll be watching dogs I meet carefully - looking to see if any of THEM have the Mad Eye Moody implant...

    My mom used to string hanging mothballs in snippets of cut up pantyhose about 4 - 6 inches from the ground on the perimeter of our 1/4 acre garden plot in the country. Didn't work on potato bugs, but the rabbits, groundhogs and other vegetarians in the area mostly kept away.

  9. I love your bug eyed dog. I also have one I could have used for surveillance. Ha! But I went the cat route. Great minds think a like.

  10. Linda, your revamped Penny doodle portrait is hilariously funny and spot on.

    I see you doing the fur with wild circular pen curls. Penny's curly fur resonate not only with her 'Everybody loves me!” attitude towards life, but also shows your professional sketching skills.

    Well done!

  11. Wow, I haven't been by in a while. I hope you are well. We've had a Doe in our yard for the past few days, just hanging about in the mornings and then the last few days in the afternoons too. I would get up in the morning and look out the window to see her eating my raspberries, then she moves on to my tiger lilies, then on to the back yard but the garden there only has green tomatoes right now. I'm wondering if she is the reason I didn't get a single red strawberry this year from dozens of plants. I blamed the chipmunk that I randomly see on the edge of the garden, but maybe it was the Doe. When I see her, she stands there looking at me like "yes, I see you" as she continues to nibble on my plants. I think a neighbor called animal control about her yesterday. She wasn't here this morning. I didn't have the heart to call about her. I figured she'd move on and I enjoyed our moments of staring at each other. The loss of some berries and flowers were worth the encounters with her.

  12. I used to be a lot more tolerant about the varmints and planted extra for them. Bad plan. They just reproduced more and ate more. And while I gave Penny permission to kill a deer, I have to admit the deer are pretty safe and beautiful to watch like Karen says.

    I was impressed Penny managed to take out a groundhog because it was almost as big as she is. Penny would love to be rented out for varmint control. She is 1/2 Jack Russell, and they were bred for getting rodents.

    Cindy, my pre-Brady Bunch dog's full name was Cinderella, and she was a one and only. I won't be naming any more dogs Cindy so you can quit cringing :)

    I should probably go off and buy mothballs and aluminum pie tins for the garden now. Thanks for the comments everybody!!

  13. I like the picture of Mad-Eye Penny and her electric blue eye. A bit of a style like cubism, no? And I think it's good to have house pets that keeps the close area clean for unwanted guests. Our cats certainly keep the rats away - except when they bring them inside to play with...

  14. You are so good with angles and your geometric touches. And on the other hand, I can say the same for the softness in the Cindy portrait.

    Give that dog a treat (Penny) for being such a good protector! And blow a kiss into doggy heaven for Cindy.

  15. Cubism, hm? Maybe I'll play around with that idea sometime. Thanks for the good thoughts!

  16. Awwww..this is a loving post, Linda! And what a cool Mad-eye your pup has. : ) We are HP fans over here. And goodness, your dear doodle is full of love. : ) Giving your pup a pat on the head right now..awesome that she can catch those critters!

  17. Great storytelling Linda and I love your Mad Eye Moody Dog!! Great character!

  18. Thanks! I'll pass on the Penny love :)

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