Riggins, my 10-year-old German Shorthair Pointer mix, is such an adorable part of my life that his image has found its way into art all over my home.
Head to any of my friend’s houses, and you will find framed photos of their human children covering the walls. It’s expected of them, as parents, to be so proud and in love with their little darlings that they want to look at their cute faces as often as possible. I don’t have any human kids, so at my house the joyful smiles you see staring at you from the walls and refrigerator are those of my niece and nephew — and Riggins!
My collection of Riggins art started slowly but has exploded in the past few years. I love every single piece and don’t think I will ever get enough. I use to be slightly ashamed of my dog’s image adorning my walls. I had no delusions about my decor. I knew it screamed CRAZY DOG LADY! I’d cringe slightly when leading new people into my living room and having them see a giant portrait of Riggins above my fireplace and then a stained glass piece of my baby boy on the opposite wall.
I’d downplay the two items, so that the crazy wasn’t quite so loud. “Oh, that portrait is just something silly” and “My parents gave me that stained glass for Christmas one year. Isn’t it ridiculous?” While inside my head I was screaming THAT STAINED GLASS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!
It is, too. That piece is a slice of heaven. My mom’s friend made it from a picture of Riggins standing outside in my parents’ backyard. You can make out their old redwood fence, and the dog is without a doubt my black-with-white-speckles little boy. It was designed specifically for the house I live in and is covering an odd little circular window high in the wall. Everything about it is perfection.
Eventually, I accepted my crazy and grew my collection without shame. It has now taken over my house, and I couldn’t be happier.
My first piece was the portrait above the fireplace. When Riggins and I moved to this house, we had left my ex and were both a little sad. I commissioned the painting from a young artist I found online. I figured having Riggins above the fireplace would make our new place feel like a safe and happy home. I was right!
One year, I decided that I wanted professional pictures taken of Riggins and me. I wasn’t married, didn’t have children, and had no prospects on the horizon (perhaps due to that whole “dog crazy” thing), but that didn’t mean I didn’t deserve beautiful photographs of my family. Once again, I turned to the Internet and was lucky to stumble upon a very talented pet photographer, Lori Fusaro. Riggins and I have been photographed by Lori many times — three for me, four for Riggins — and each session results in at least one new, framed picture for my collection.
I will hang up any likeness of my sweet baby boy. I’m lucky enough to be friends with a group of very talented illustrators. Truth be told, I know them through one of my very best friends and one of Riggins’ BFFs, Martha Rich, who now lives across the country. One day she returned to Southern California for a visit and invited me to a dinner with the talented bunch. Being artists, they don’t just eat dinner, but eat and sketch. I was slightly embarresed when it was my turn to draw. Luckily, Martha came to my rescue and suggested, instead, that each person draw a picture of Riggins based on the stories I had told about him. The results were magic, and I snuck the drawings into my purse so that I could frame them and hang them in my office. The collection is now one of my favorite pieces.
Friends and family know that a Riggins-themed piece of art will be cherished by me, and because of that many of my items were gifts. A good friend gave me one of those kits where you make a mold of your dog’s paw print with a frame, which includes a picture of your four-legged friend. It hangs in my back entryway (which is also the main entry since my front door is covered in doggie gates that are too annoying to move for a visitor).
One Christmas, my mom made me a Riggins towel dog for the bathroom. What is a towel dog, you ask? Well, it is exactly what you think it is. It’s a towel that has been arranged to look like my darling dog, Riggins. Brilliant!
This past Christmas, one of my friends searched for the perfect photo of Riggins that showed off his beautiful pumpkin eyes and had it printed on canvas for me. I loved it so much, I immediately took down old human-relative pictures and replaced them with my new Riggins art. Not that I don’t love my human relatives — of course I do — but I’d much rather look at my darling boy’s cute black nose and striking eyes, happy on one of our hikes, than anything else in the whole world.
Of course, all of this doesn’t even take into account the Riggins pictures I have taken that are framed and strewn around the place. On my desk, on my bedside table, on a chest of drawers. You can’t look very many places in my house without seeing a black-and-white mutt starring at you.
Is adorning your house with images of your dog crazy? Maybe, but I don’t care if it is! Riggins is my love, and if I want to cover my walls with his likeness, then that’s what I’m going to do.
What kind of art of your dogs do you have in your house? Tell us about it and share photos in the comments below!
Read more about Wendy and Riggins:
About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.