Life of an Illustrator


Ramblings in my house

Nixie is my youngest of five. She has three dads, in the form of cats, and one mom, in the form of Brownie, my highly intelligent street special dog, who has a lot of German Shepard in her. Nixie, according to the vet, has whippet. A breed usually known to be timid, shy, and have their tails in between their legs a lot when in public spaces. Nixie is none of these things.

To give you an idea of her personality, we left her inside (when I went to yoga class, or nipped out an hour or so). At first it was fine. Then she started chewing on things from the bin. But for weeks it was never anything that couldn’t be fixed, or moved before leaving. Until we came home and open the door to an artistic madness. She had found a brown bag, containing a few oil paints from Deckle Edge. Out of the three primary colours, she had decided that the red was her favorite. She promptly chewed the tube, digesting half the paint, smearing pinky red paint all over her face, paws and carpet. She also chewed the oil paper. It took my husband and I an hour to remove the oil paint from the carpet with turpentine. She, on the other had, had no issues at all from eating the paint.

Later in the week,  we returned home from the shops. As I fished for my handbag on the passenger floor, my husband pushed the garage door button while carrying the bags in. The garage door made a strange noise. I got out the car and saw that Nixie was doing the best wicked witch from the wizard of Oz impression, minus the red shoes. The garage door had come down on her and instead of moving out the way, she just lay down and got pinned. All I saw where two little legs, spachcock chicken style and a fluffy tail, leaking out from under the garage.

My first reaction was a useless one, although it is probably what all mothers do first. I screamed. I ran to the garage door and thought of trying to heave the whole thing up. But then I realized that I couldn’t hear the garage door anymore, which means there was no continued force on Nixie’s back. I ran to where the remote was and pushed the garage button. As the garage rose, I tried to think of worst-case scenario.

She might be paralyzed. On the bright side it would only be her back two legs. As far as I know dogs are pretty good about being paralyzed, in comparison to humans at least. She wouldn’t blame my husband for pushing button to make the garage door close. She also wouldn’t blame me for being preoccupied with my handbag while she got squashed. Dogs are amazing like that.

My husband will have a new project in Meccano Lego to create a platform, with large wheels, and belt (so it’s firmly attached to her body) for her to be mobile. Since she enjoys her runs in the woods and goes with us hiking, we’ll have to create for her a 4X4 version, with larger wheels that have better grip. Think half-dog, half-hummer. She’ll run up the mountain with her front paws, her back wheels rolling and bouncing over the bumps and rocks. Her tongue will hang out in all the excitement. People will stop and tell me how much they admire Nixie for her bravery.

If I got paralyzed I would take years to recover, loads of therapy, but Nixie would only need a short adjustment period and then her personality would just shine through. I would be inspired myself by this amazing little dog and write books about her. I’ll put a photo of her on her wheels on the back page. The book will go viral, Disney will want to make a movie. She’ll be the world’s miracle dog. But that wasn’t the miracle Nixie was going for that day.

The garage door opened and she bounced up, with her tail wagging and did her excited silly dance for me. I tested her back, legs, tail, everything and she didn’t even wince.  Not even the smallest of bruises. The garage did nothing but made her stuck. Later that day my husband got round to poop scooping the back of the house. He found an incredibly pink turd.