An Artist and his Dog

Words and Illustration by David Finley

 Are you a dog person or a cat person?

 After years of being just a "cat" person, I am now the proud parent of a dog. Her name is Mable, and she's probably the best case scenario dog for a cat person like myself. She doesn't bark, she's house-trained, and she is well behaved.

 Of course, my cat hates her.

New Territory

To be honest having a dog is weird for me. As I said, I favor cats. Dogs tend to be high maintenance, and need a good deal more attention. I like the independent nature of cats, and how they also seem innocently evil in a way.
Skelly- by David Finley

My cat Skelly, who died a few months ago, personified my ideal animal companion. He was the perfect blend of attentiveness without being needy or aloof. He was a cat with dog-like qualities, and he is still by far my favorite pet of all time. Skelly was a muse of mine. He has been featured in more of my art, from fine-art to illustration, than anyone, human or animal. I still miss waking up to his purrs as he would sit on my chest staring at my face, patiently waiting for me to rouse.

 So, when he died, I knew I wasn't emotionally ready to get another cat to replace him. Still, we didn't want our other cat, Bea to be alone so my wife seized on the opportunity to suggest a dog, which I had keenly avoided before by saying we had enough pets already. And, that leads me to where I am now.

Life With a Dog

 Although I resisted it, living with a dog has its advantages. Despite her animosity toward Mable, Bea has perked up quite a bit since a dog came into our house. It's been healthy for me, too. While I don't like waking up at six or seven in the morning to take her outside, I think my favorite thing so far is taking Mable on afternoon walks. She just enjoys them so much and I can't help but feel her good mood infects me as well.

 I've met more of my neighbors in the last week than I have in the two months since we have lived here. And, I don't know if it is due to the exercise or the fresh air, but I've been feeling more energized and creative.

That's good for my art.

Today's Featured Illustration: Dog Versus Cat

 As you can see from today's featured illustration, and yesterday's illustration, I've been on a bit of a Japanese print experiment kick. I'm not quite where I want the experiment to go with the images I've made this way so far, but it's fun learning. I like the idea of eventually using a Japanese print- based style that depicts life in modern America. I think that strange blend helps make a commentary of sorts. Today's piece is a bit more cartoony than I originally intended, but it gets close to that old print feel in places.

 What do you guys think? Has anyone else out there opened up their home to a dog after being a cat person for years? I'd love to hear your comments, stories, and feedback.

Thanks for reading!

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