Sunday, May 1, 2011

Illustration Friday: Lesson

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

Who doesn’t remember playing school as a child and roping in younger brothers or dolls  to play the part of students? That’s how this drawing started. It was going to be a little kid reading to her dolly. And then, the little dog showed up. Now, this isn’t just any little dog. This is our little dog. Or maybe we should say “was” because he’s gone now.

He was the sweetest little black-and-silver miniature poodle and he came to us as all our pets do, as a rescue. A friend couldn’t keep him anymore and so he came to live in the Kingdom of Coco. In a word, he was ‘perfect’. He was sweet-tempered and loyal and loving and (relatively) well-behaved. That’s the thing about small dogs. They can get away with more because they won’t knock you down if they jump up on you and if they do occasionally pee on the carpet, it’s not like they’re going to warp the floorboards. J

His name, we were told, was Rennie. Our friends were Anglophones (that means English only speakers for any non-Canadian who might be wondering). When we asked about the name on his birth certificate (which was René), my friend said they had named him for the famous Quebec politician (and confirmed separatist), René Lévesque because Rennie was a FRENCH poodle. OK. That makes sense. Anglophones pronounce René as Rennie. So Rennie he stayed...even though as a French major, and lover of all things French AND a proud Canadian, it all seemed a little....wrong, somehow. 

But there was nothing wrong with Rennie himself. He liked to cuddle and he loved to cuddle with us. He spent long hours glued to our side in our special chair while we drew or did needlework just as he’s sitting in this drawing. With that look of complete adoration.

So, why did Rennie pick today to visit? Well, we, along with the rest of the world, have been watching the coverage of the Royal Wedding (that is, when Ontario Hydro sees fit to provide us with electricity…. Their telephone update line starts out by patiently and condescendingly reminding us that there’s been a BIG STORM and many customers are without power….yeah, yeah….) We don’t know if it’s the frustration with the hydro situation or what, but the joyfulness of the wedding is tempered by a little melancholy. We can’t help feeling a little sad, a little weepy even that Princess Di didn’t live long enough to see her handsome son marry.

And that’s where Rennie comes in. You see, Rennie died the very morning that Princess Di’s death was announced here in Canada. The 2 deaths are inextricably linked for us. Someone we never really knew, but admired. And someone we loved like our own child.

So, today when our pencil was moving and suddenly we realized “Hey, that’s Rennie” (because believe it or not, that’s sometimes how it happens) we took a moment to remember him.

You are never truly gone if someone remembers you.

BTW That's Rennie in the photo in the sidebar....the one advertising the pattern for the Cosy Quilted Cap and Mittens. We miss that little guy.


  1. He is a cutie too! Isn't love grand!

  2. They truly do hold a very special place in our hearts and memories, don't they? Smiles...

  3. I know that Rennie is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge. Aren't you glad he came into your life? They leave paw prints on our hearts forever.
    Your story was lovely and you have captured that adoring expression I am sure he gave you many times. Well done, dear friend.


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