Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Dogs Together 1990

Our first dog was an English Pointer that we named Robbie.  My parents had her bred to another English Pointer when she was about two years old.  Subsequently she had a litter of about 9 or 10 puppies, one of the better memories of my childhood.

Because spaying and neutering were not really options for dogs in the fifties, we had a small wire pen built for Robbie whenever she came into heat, and she would be put in that pen for several weeks every year.  At nine years old, I knew what was going on-that it took a male dog to make puppies-and I was dying to repeat the experience of our previous puppies.  So, one afternoon when I was alone at home with Robbie, and she was in heat, I opened the gate to the pen and let one of the more persistent dogs in with her.  And sure enough, they did what dogs do. He got on top and started working away.

My plan was to let the male dog out when he was done, shut the gate, and no one would be the wiser until the puppies showed up.  But it didn't go as I had planned.  The male dog seemed to finish, and dropped off of Robbie.  But then, to my horror, he stayed joined to Robbie, attached by his penis.  It was awful.  I didn't know what to do, only that I had to do something because something was clearly very wrong. I called my stepfather, Nick, and crying, told him that one of the dogs had forced his way past me into the pen and that now they were stuck.  Nick must have been close, because he showed up fairly quickly, careening around the corner of the driveway in our old black Chevy pickup.  He got out, went over to the dogs, got a stick and started hitting the male dog.  He wasn't angry or upset, just pragmatically working at getting the dogs apart.  Sure enough, it worked, the dog was able to free himself and he ran off after Nick gave him another emphatic thump with the stick.  I sobbed and sobbed, watching Nick through the fence. I'm not sure now which was worse:  getting caught or witnessing the two  joined dogs, looking as miserable and frightened as I felt.


  1. wow, that's an amazing story, Holly & a spooky painting. Did your scheme work? Were there puppies? I once saw two dogs stuck like that on a dusty main street in Iquitos, Peru. They were stuck & each pulling in an opposite direction down the street: now as I picture it, I can only see it as one of your paintings...P.S. did a color chart based on your Penland demo yesterday using the naples yellow & have a cool new sense of how the color in your painting comes about.

  2. Did this experiment succeed? I've heard the dogs died after 4 days.


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