Life with Dogs, and One Child- Part 4: dé·tente

Eventually  we all settled into detente.

Finding a photo from these years with both Pumpkin and Brennan in it is a challenge. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t images.


I painted several that illustrated the tensions between toddler and dog.


And just as Pumpkin finally began to adjust to one child around the house, I became pregnant with another.


This new person was strong and liked to do his tumbling act whenever I needed a steady hand.


By the summer of 1990, we were in the  last weeks and Pumpkin and I were feeling heavy and tired.


Meanwhile, over in Bookland, I was illustrating Isabel Wilner’s A Garden Alphabet. Pumpkin is the gardener and her best buddy is a frog.


That rude frog laughed right along with Brennan when I broke the rope hammock in my 9th month.


Knowing what was coming, I made the hard decision to leave Pumpkin at “Camp Stoneledge,” aka my mom’s house, in Vermont. She was 13 now, and touchier around Brennan than ever.


But with Border Collies Ben (left) and Flora (right) as housemates she thrived and lived another 2 years.

Life With Dogs-Part 2: Adopting a Dog as my Alter Ego

I was Crazy about Pumpkin.


She was my first Border Collie and I was thrilled with her intelligence and empathy. She became my constant companion. I was still an art student when I got her and she went to all my classes with me.


She used to cuddle by tucking her head up under my chin.



I loved to draw her.


Soon I was anthropomorphizing her-I couldn’t help myself.


It was uncanny how she loved to do all the same things I did.


Pumpkin traveled the world for close to a year. She shared a picnic at Hanging Rock with a koala in Australia.


She rode a camel on the Great Wall of China.


And caught a flounder in Istanbul, Turkey.


Later she even got pregnant,


Meanwhile, over in Bookland, Pumpkin began appearing in my children’s books from the very beginning.

Here we are making snow angels in A Year of Birds. I am still a carefree child, making Sabin do all the work as my father.


In my next post I will reveal how Pumpkin changed my life.

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