Yes, I am a dog nut.
I have set aside the evenings of February 13 and 14 for my favorite televised sporting event. While others may be out celebrating with their Valentines, I will be glued to the Westminster Dog Show. The first family dog I remember is my mother’s Dachshund, Maggie. She was followed by several Standard Poodles, the last being my own who stayed with me through graduate school, my first marriage and into the second. Even though she was very, very intelligent, she did not have opposable thumbs so I learned to put her basic needs before my own. Some years later, several Scottish Deerhounds entered my life, expanding my understanding of dogs in countless ways. I became interested in the history of canine-human relationships and the many jobs dogs have performed for us. I came to respect the dedicated breeders who are working to preserve the Heritage Breeds of the dog world. I also grew to appreciate dogs in general and the humans who work to improve their health and daily lives.
A Scottish Deerhound named Hickory was the big Westminster winner in 2011. She is retired and living in the countryside of Virginia.
[Clockwise from top left: Dachshund doxie lamp from Nakeddecor; HRH spoon print from Faustart; Levity photo from Hopeimages; Scottish deerhound linocut from Anniefitt; Yellow dog collar from Greenbelts]
The poodle’s odd haircut has its origins in keeping that excellent hunting dog protected from cold water.
[Clockwise from top left: St. Roch statue from Inthecompanyofsaints; Chihuahua dog puppet from KaylaSkogh; Vintage show dog hankie from Murdups; Pink poodle figure from Cwpoppets; Treat tag from Bowwowzerz; Weiner dog pin from Beastmetalworks]
Humble beginnings are no obstacle to the bond of love between human and hound.
[Clockwise from left: Doggybag linocut from Artcanbefun; "The Lovers" painting from Gennebra; Handcrafted ceramic from Crowfootstudio; Persian carpet dog bed from Greysquirrelantiques; Shepherd dog whistle from Wolfwhistlejewelry]
To learn more about the history of different breeds, the best place to begin is the websites of the various breed clubs.
[Clockwise from top left: Sleeping dog from MKEFormfabriken; Dog leggings from Qooqoofashion; Custom pet drawing from Pentopaper123; Greyhound dog cookies from Dogcitybakery; Original poodle woodcut from Jpopstudios]
To help improve the welfare of dogs in your area, contact local shelters to see how you can be of assistance. Encourage landlords to accept pets in their properties. The number one reason for pets being turned in to shelters is housing. Before giving money, check any organization’s policy on euthanasia and what percentage of funds are actually passed along to local groups. And, remember to thank dogs for being our friends and helpers for thousands of years.
Cate Fitt, a.k.a. knitfitt, has been a member of Etsy since 2007 and is an experienced critic, curator and juror. She earned her MFA in fiber in 1978, later receiving an artist’s fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Through the years, she’s been a maker of one-of-a-kind hand-painted clothing, pottery, jewelry, and linocut and monotype prints. She lives in a little house close to the James River with two whippets named Moose and Peach.