About Tilly

Tilly is an 11-year-old Springer Spaniel/Labrador cross, born on a farm in Tiverton, Devon. She's been with us since she was 8 weeks old, a beloved member of the family and my daily companion when I'm at work in the studio.

"The Dog's Tales" is a silly series of post from Tilly's point of view. And this post tells the story of how our dear girl first came to us.

"Dog's Life: Part I" and "Dog's Life: Part II" are posts containing photographs of writers & artists with their dogs, from Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Beatrix Potter to  Maurice Sendak, Isabel Allende, and Stephen King. 

Studio Muse

"A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel."

- a Portuguese Proverb

Eight week old Springador puppy

At 9 weeks old, watching birds in the garden.Into the gravity of my life,
the serious ceremonies
of polish and paper
and pen, has come

this manic animal
whose innocent disruptions
make nonsense
of my old simplicities -

as if I needed him
to prove again that after
all the careful planning,
anything can happen.

- Linda Pastan
("The New Dog")

"I watch the other dog owners in the park, married people and single people and people with children. The relationship each one has with his or her dog is very personal and distinct. But what I see again and again is that people are proud of their pets, proud of the way that they run, proud of how they nose around with the other dogs, proud that they are brave enough to go into the water or smart enough to stay out of it. People seem able to love their dogs with an unabashed acceptance that they rarely demonstrate with family or friends. The dogs do not disappoint them, or if they do, the owners manage to forget about it quickly. I want to learn to love like this, the way we love our dogs, with pride and enthusiasm and a complete amnesia for faults. In short, to love others the way our dogs love us."

- Ann Patchett (''This Dog's Life'')

Growth spurt

Tilly posing

"Dogs are minor angels, and I don't mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic. But because it's 'only; a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more. However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being? Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day -- we're just so used to them that we pay no attention."

 - Jonathan Carroll (whose novels & stories are full of dogs)

A splash in a Dartmoor stream

"The conclusion I have reached is that, above all, dogs are witnesses. They are allowed access to our most private moments. They are there when we think we are alone. Think of what they could tell us. They sit on the laps of presidents. They see acts of love and violence, quarrels and feuds, and the secret play of children. If they could tell us everything they have seen, all of the gaps of our lives would stitch themselves together."

-  Carolyn Parkhurst  (The Dogs of Babel)

Tilly on the south Devon coast

"Perhaps one central reason for loving dogs is that they take us away from this obsession with ourselves. When our thoughts start to go in circles, and we seem unable to break away, wondering what horrible event the future holds for us, the dog opens a window into the delight of the moment."

- Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (Dogs Make Us Human)

Hound at the window

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

Pablo Neruda

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  - Anatole France


The art in the right hand column is by H.J. Ford (1860-1941) and John D. Batten (1860-1932).