Here's a peek at a new piece that I just created and will donate to the Pit Bull awareness fundraiser on October 10, 2009. "Sisters" is based on my dog Betsy, who was by far the best dog that a little girl could have while growing up!
When I was very small, family friends would comment to my mom about how much she and my little brother looked alike with their blond hair and green eyes. Then they would look at me with my red hair and blue eyes and say nothing! After developing a huge complex, I did what any normal 5-year-old would do and started telling people that my parents had kidnapped me! So after several parent-teacher conferences, many conversations about how red hair is a recessive gene, and a quick trip to the pet store for someone who looked a little more like me, I decided to stay with this family.
I'll always remember the ride home from the pet store in our brown station wagon holding this tiny, squirmy ball of puppy breath and telling her that her name is Betsy. My dad explained to me that I shouldn't call her Betsy just yet because she might get used to her new name on the ride home, even though it was only a 5-minute drive. And if we all decided to call her by another name, the puppy would then be confused. But I wouldn't listen.
Betsy turned out to not be just a dog, but instead became a member of our family. My mom always laughed when I would roll the dog over on her back and dig through the hair on her stomach. Apparently, I was looking for the zipper because I knew that she was really a person inside that fur coat! I also gave Betsy my middle name because I imagined that's what a big sister would do. Betsy and I spent countless hours of my childhood digging a large hole in the backyard in order to get to China, reading Encyclopedia Brown mysteries together by flashlight in our blanket fort, and sharing a bowl of popcorn while watching Saturday morning cartons.
Betsy lived a long and happy life and died in my mom's arms at the age of 18-years-old. And while there have been countless other dogs since her, Betsy will always be my first love. Red heads share a bond that can never be broken.
In honor of Betsy's memory, this piece will be donated as a silent auction item to the "Pits and Fash" Fashion and Trunk Show Fundraiser promoting the documentary, "Beyond the Myth." The benefit will be held on Saturday, October 10 at 7pm at the Retro Lodge located at 1111 H Street.