Last month Carol Bryant wrote, “I never thought of myself as a person who gets tattoos.” Yet her feelings for her two canine companions led her to be just such a person. In “Getting Inked: I Got Tattoos for the Love of My Dogs,” she tells the story of why ad how her dogs Brandy Noel and Dexter are immortalized in her skin in the form of paws and letters.
Then she asked you, Dogster readers, whether you have any tattoos created with your dogs in mind. And boy, did you respond! The story has 83 comments and about 20 images. Fifteen of our favorites follow.
Most of the tattoo images are in one of three categories: dog portraits, dog paws, and tattoos comprising paws and names. A couple of others defy categorization — we’ll save those for last.
Among the more impressive dog portraits was submitted by reader calling herself Sara, which is actually the name of her late Doberman.
“I have 3 tattoos of my Dobermans, but this one is the best,” she writes. “It’s of my Sara who died a couple of years ago from a bad heart. Todo Brennan did the tattoo & it looks exactly like Sara, even has the marks on her gums.”
Nicole Kane, like Sara, places her dog’s portrait next to her tattoo.
“This is my Baby Girl my first child,” she writes.
Reader Terrah has one portrait and also one name.
“I have two that have passed and tattooed,” Terrah writes. “I got the full arm done at Oddball Tattoo in Portland, OR, by David- Szymanski, and the Phoebe font done in Las Vegas.”
Reader Erika Schmoldt lost her Boston Terrier, Bossy, whom she’d had 15 years in 2011 and wanted to commemorate his life.
“I’d had him since the day he was born, and before that, I’d had his mother and father. Even now I mourn the loss,” she writes. “After a rough start and almost losing him … he became my soul puppy. He was my shadow. He saw me though my separation, and a few deaths. I would have been lost without him.”
Leon Dumont gives no details about the dog in his tattoo, but rather a poem alongside the image.
“From Friend to Friend”
You’re giving me a special gift,
So sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days,
Your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing
When your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts
Will only be in vain.
So looking deep into your eyes,
Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
Once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess,
Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
For it’s the only way.
Anne Still says her tattoo of her dog came from a sketch done by her roommate.
“My roommate was testing shading techniques with a new brand of marker, and my dog jumped up on the couch and proceeded to watch TV with him, in his usual slightly slouched position,” she writes “The markers didn’t work well for the shading, but the sketch came out great. I knew right away I had to do it.”
Renee Tellez has three dog portraits, saying nothing about them except, “I’ve done it!”
In the category of paw tattoos, a reader called TheGreatSpag mixed in a symbol:
“This one combines my great loves in my life: my wife (the triangle knot is on our wedding band) and my dogs.”
A reader named Kristing worked a green “S” into her paw design for her late dog, Sampson.
“I picked green because he always wore a green collar,” Kristine writes. “Sampson died of bladder cancer in February 2009, and I got the tattoo later that fall. He was my childhood buddy and losing him was devastating.”
A reader named Deb has four paw prints on the back of her neck, one for each dog that’s been in her family.
“I’m thinking of adding a new one for each dog that joins our family,” she writes. “If I’m lucky, I could have an entire line of paw prints down my back. :o)”
Cherise Morris Mitchell also has four paw prints, one for her current dogs.
She says she never thought she’d get a tattoo, “but finally when I was 44 I gave in. I didn’t want anything big, and I’ve lost several dogs and it has broken my heart. Currently I have four dogs so I thought I just needed something to represent them all.”
Angela Barrella got a paw and the name of her dog, Chewie, tattooed on her left foot.
“I wanted to combine my love of ink with the love for my pup!” she writes. “I have another drawn up to remember my other pup who passed recently and will probably create one for the newest addition to my family.”
Jennifer-jo Moyer has two tattoos on a similar theme.
“These are Meteor and FiFiGiGi’s actual paw prints,” she says. “We stamp padded them and my tattoo artist .. included even the hair from between their toes in the final product. I love it.”
A reader named Kim incorporated a paw print in a mostly white tattoo of an exclamation point, which she included when she registered her dog’s name, Hosanna, who was a Labrador Retriever.
“You see, in every way he was exuberant,” Kim writes. “He was my life and my joy, and no matter what, in every ounce of his being and every moment of his life, HE was an exclamation mark.
“My tattoo is on the inside of my right wrist where I see it constantly, and it is a part of all that I do. It’s white, like he was.”
The final tattoo we’ll show you was submitted by a reader named Cathy, and it’s quite moving.
“My tattoo is not for one beloved dog but for many,” Cathy writes. “I do dog rescue. It is the most important thing in my life. My tattoo is on my forearm where I can see it all the time. It is there to remind me of what I do and why I do it.”