Original dachshund sculpture, spring 2004.
I was heartbroken over the winter when our wooden dachshund sculpture finally bit the dust, metaphorically speaking. For my entire life, and even longer, it had served as the centerpiece of our front yard, a marker to all the cats and critters that march up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. Heather nursed the plywood dog along through many repairs and coats of black paint, until it finally succumbed to another wet Northwest winter, rotting down the center until it split beyond repair.
Chloë and Mike cut the ribbon
It’s hard to replace something that rare. Some highly emotional individuals need more time. So when Mike finally decided we were ready, he searched online and was surprised to find what looked like a suitable replacement. When it arrived (not via my favorite delivery service, by the way), Mike took it to the garage for weatherproofing while he studied every square inch of our extensive plot before deciding on the right spot. We installed it and held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony last Sunday. My pal Charlie attended and took photos. I determined the new sculpture needed to be behind the wrought-iron fence for security purposes. I cannot be guarding it 24/7, after all.
New sculpture in place.
Life tries to imitate art.
After the ceremony, I immediately tried to replicate the stance and the stature of the heroic sculpture behind me, to little avail. If only I could summon at will that much gallantry and grace! Not now, certainly, but certainly something to aspire to every day.
Final resting place
After we paused for refreshments (biscuits for me, hard candy for Mike), we had a more solemn duty to perform. We marched across the street and laid to rest the broken original sculpture in our neighbor Claire’s yard waste bin, on top of a bed of spring trimmings and thatch. Mike played Dave Novak’s version of the song “Bugler” on his iPod and hummed along. Then we closed the lid and took a walk in the park.
I really miss going to Heather’s office. I used to go all the time, until earlier this year the office changed locations, and the new landlord put the kibosh on dogs at the office. Everybody was always so nice to me there. I got lots of attention, lots of treats, and of course lots of meetings to sit through. It was fun! Frankly, I’d like to start a movement on my blog to re-institute a “dogs welcome” policy at Heather’s office, but I won’t do it because I know Heather wouldn’t approve, and that’s putting it mildly. I’m not going to risk getting into her doghouse.
Anyway, I must have made a big impression on Heather’s co-workers, because Heather says they ask about me all the time. One of them, at a business dinner in a trendy Vietnamese cuisine restaurant on the waterfront in San Francisco called the Slanted Door, was enjoying her meal when she saw a familiar face staring down from the wall. She emailed Heather, “Chloë joined us for dinner!”
Painting by Judy North in the Slanted Door, a San Francisco restaurant
So what do you think? The coloring is close, and look at those bald ears! If the little girl in the picture didn’t have those light brown paws and muzzle, she and I could be twins. I can’t wait to tell my brothers Frank and Stanley about this. Maybe we have a long-lost sister who became a famous model.
Mike contacted the restaurant and found out the wirehair dachshund portrait (“Mavis”) was painted by Judy North, a celebrated artist whose dog portraits hang throughout the dining areas. While Ms. North accepts commissions, Mike told me he has no interest in launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for my sitting.
Frankly, I don’t really care whether I get a fancy portrait or not. All I ask is that next time somebody thinks of me at dinner, send me a doggie bag, not a photo.