Thursday, September 9, 2010


When I was a young child we lived on the bottom floor of a two-family house in a quaint town. The upstairs apartment had a family with 1 child and a fluffy, black dog named Muffy. Our two families were quite close and became almost extended families to one another, and so, indirectly, Muffy was close to being my dog.

Muffy was a very friendly dog and also a very energetic dog. She would often "escape" out the front door and run away. We would try to catch her, but to no avail. She was gone quicker than you could blink. Now this was a very different time than today. This was back in the 50's when people didn't lock up their doors & windows all the time. And when most women were home during the day while the men worked. So when Muffy would run, the whole neighborhood would know it. They would hear our calls "Muffy, Muffy" as we tried to convince her to come home.

Muffy would return home, hours or even days later. We never knew where in town she went - even long searches by bicycle never found her. But she would wander back home, walk up to one of us & nuzzle us in the back to let us know she was there. And of course, we would all hug her and tell her how much we missed her. Her owner would chide her for running away but would also be very happy that she was back. That is, until a short time later, Muffy would deliver a set of puppies!

I can remember maybe 3 of Muffys liters, all mixed colors of puppies. It was my first exposure to such newborn pups, with their eyes closed and making such soft, little whimpers. Muffy never had a problem with anyone picking up and handling her pups, so I got the chance to hold them often. It was wonderful.

After the 3rd runaway and 3rd litter, the town knocked on the upstairs door and told the owner if Muffy ran away again she would be taken away to the animal shelter. Yes they did such things back then - even though she never bit anyone, they considered her a danger. The owner knew that Muffy would run again, and didn't want her in the shelter - so she gave Muffy away to the milk man.

I remember that sad day, when he came and took Muffy. She was sitting in the front of the milk truck, starring at us, saying "please don't send me away." I think the adults cried as well as the kids, but we all told her she would have a good home. The milkman promised she would. It was Muffy's last look to me that I think I captured in this painting.

For the longest time, the milkman would often tell us about Muffy. How she loved her new, big fenced in yard and how she loved to play. We were glad to hear she was so happy even though we missed her. The owners upstairs had kept one of Muffy's puppies from her last liter, a brown, shaggy, male dog that they named Prince. Prince loved to run away also, but being a male, there were never any puppies to deal with. But the story of Prince is for another day.

This painting was done for the Paint & Draw Together challenge.
Acrylic on 9x12 canvas


createwall said...

I really like it,because this is just so stunning and adorable,great use of paints colors and textures, your work is oustanding!!! Thanks for sharing ..Keep it up...!!
photos on canvas

Nancy Goldman said...

This is such a great portrait. You captured a deep sense of emotion in those eyes. I loved your story about Muffy.

AutumnLeaves said...

What a beautiful portrait and fabulous story of your love for Muffy. I can't wait to hear about Prince, Nancie.

Linda Young said...

Nancie, the story is a nice accompaniment to the lovely portrait of Muffy. It brought back some childhood memories of dogs and puppies in my lifetime. Thanks for sharing it.

SYLVIANE said...

Nancie, it was such a delight to read your touching short story, you have a real writer talent; during my 2 Canadian months here, I have been reading Joyce Carol Oates' novels and I find again the style I like.
About the painting, congratulations, because I found it very hard to paint, with all this black color, and I noticed your blue and grey, and of course the vivid expression of the eyes.

Celeste Bergin said...

great story and portrait of a great friend

Priti said...

Nancie, i love your style and your blog is also very fun and interesting. Keep up the good work.

Margaret Bednar said...

Black is tricky but you conquered it! The story is so touching. Spay and neuter wasn't quiet pushed then. Prince probably fathered a lot of pups, though. But oh, the love of children for their dogs... It is why we have three. And our Moxie is a cockatoo (poodle cocker mix) and looks a lot like your painting.


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