Lucie in penbrush

August 18, 2012

Hot day

Lucie keeps me company up in the studio while I’m working. It is under the roof, and hot on days like today.

Recently I’ve been breaking my brain on an article I need to write, so in between drafts it is a relief to grab my fountain brush and sketch Lucie.
My oil painting has ground to a halt, and I’m generally not very productive right now, so it is a relief to see there’s at least something being produced around here!

Above, relaxed, and below one of Lucie’s’ difficult positions’

When Lucie has her head stretched out like the 2 sketches on the bottom of the page, she is expressing some sort of discontent. It is not a relaxed position like the one above it. Either she thinks I’m spending too much time on the stupid article instead of playing with her (she’s right). Or she wants to be somewhere else but is too polite to leave.

This is similar to when I want to take an afternoon nap and cuddle up with her on the studio bed. If she is not in the mood, she will grudgingly come up on the bed and extend her head in a similar way, with her chin pointedly grinding into my leg, something like the position below. This is a very clear message that she is not at all happy about keeping me company, but for me, she’ll stay – as long as I know it is against her (very  strong) will. Every muscle is tense and the minute I get up, she jumps like a shot and skids down the stairs to find her throwing ring to play.

How she breathes like this I haven’t a clue

Fox terrier tales

June 28, 2012

Warning, high cuteness factor.

Some mysterious animal has been raiding our strawberries.

Bigger than a slug for sure, (and smart enough to find the ones under the netting and chomp them right through it). Check her out caught in the act.

Notice her going straight for the ripe red one

She also helps with the gardening, so I guess she thinks it is a fair trade off.

She had an early affinity with gardening as you can see from this photo from 5 years ago, of both of us looking younger.

Lucie helping

Recently she has been finding me very thick. Through clear signals she lets me know what we need to do next, and for some reason according to her, I just don’t seem to get it!

I’ll just put it in here where she can see it

So, come on it is gardening time! Lucie style.

Boy is she ever dumb, maybe she’ll get it now.

And finally, because she is so beautiful and such a wonderful companion, and we love her so much, here is a portrait Rende made of her during one of their favorite walks in an old apple orchard.

Lucida Bright

For a much cuter post than this one about dog love, go over and see Dottie Angel as she tries to quit photographing her beautiful little dog – cold turkey!

February 6, 2008


Photo by Rende Zoutewelle

Lucie is turning out to be so completely her own person, well….dog.
Our last dog was also a female fox terrier and had a terrific character all her own.  There are, of course similarities because of the breed, but it is such a pleasure watching Lucie develop and discover the world.

When we picked her up at the breeders, we were privileged to meet her father, Avalon.  Yes, privileged. I have never met an animal who commanded such instant respect and admiration. He simply radiated stature, but was also very sweet-natured. I was very impressed by him and touched as well. Later we heard that he has won the European Championships for the second year in a row. 
Her mother is also a lovely, good natured dog.

Lucie is brave- she will feel fear at new, large and noisy things, but will go out to meet them with her head and tail up.
She is super-intelligent, living up to her full name, ‘Lucida Bright’. When she was about 5 months old, we taught her to open a door by taking a knotted rope in her mouth and pulling. It took her a little over a week to catch on.

When we are playing with the ball and I say in my best down south accent, ‘Give me Five Lucie honey’, she ‘hits’ me with her open paw and races away again.  She has this wonderful prancy little dance she does with the floss/string in her mouth, twirling around and shaking it. She is mischievous and energetic but insists on climbing on our laps for a cuddle when we watch DVDs at night. We are just finishing up her favorite series,  James Herriott  (she isn’t allowed to look if a dog gets really sick or is mistreated).

As I said, once I start………. 

Doggy blog

February 6, 2008


Photo by Rende Zoutewelle, starring ‘Miss Lucie’

Maybe the reason I haven’t been writing about Lucie is that once I start I’m afraid I may not be able to stop.

She is now 9 months old and  stunningly beautiful. OK, here she isn’t shown off to her full glamour, but sometimes just catching sight of her takes my breath away.

Here she is loose in an abandonned orchard not far from where we live.  She runs (on the leash) with Rende alongside the bike as if she was born to it. 
She is starting finally to understand the meaning of ‘Heel’; we’ve been working on it for months and I’ve sometimes felt hopeless, but the last days she hasn’t been pulling at all. I have never  met a fox terrier that walked calmly beside you without nearly tearing your arm off at intervals.   She is responsive and obedient except when other dogs are in the vicinity, but she is so intelligent I have hope that she will even listen to us then.


July 27, 2007


Lucie with ear off center

Evidently the position of the ears is of great concern to breeders and people who show dogs. Lucie’s left ear was hanging somewhere between her left and right eye when we first saw her.  In this picture it is changing again and today it is perfectly symmetrical with the other ear.  For us it doesn’t matter, really. Just as long as she is healthy and well behaved. It seems too, that while they are changing teeth in a few months from now, the ears will also go through a changeable period. One up one down. Two up. Two down, etc.

We like them folded in typical foxy fashion, but Livvy’s ears stood straight up and we loved them like that, too.


July 25, 2007

So you get poop and pee and aggravation with a new puppy, that is obvious.

What is less visible is the enormous, unending supply of love that comes with it.

We have had dogs for all but 2 years of our 22 year partnership/marriage.  These last 5 months without a dog in the house I hadn’t realized what I’d been missing until Lucie came into our lives.

She is an infinite source of unconditional love every minute of her existence. If we have her for her life expectancy of 12-17 years, let’s say 12 years- that is 4380 days of love from morning until night.

I want to be aware/awake enough to treasure every minute of it.



We are still living in a sort of haze of non-stop activity as we adjust to having the dog here and she gets used to us.

Even though she regularly spends quiet time in the ‘bench’ ( a sort of puppy play-pen), raising her to be a well-behaved animal demands extra time and energy. And housetraining is a full time job!  Letting her out every hour or so precludes any kind of sustained concentration (on anything else than Lucie of course!) so both of us have put our work on hold this week. Too bad they don’t have parental leave for owners of housepets.

Even though we manage to get her to do a lot outside, it was still a full day of cleaning up puddles inside (after continually standing in the rain with her for 10 minutes while she sniffed around and played). I was getting dinner ready and took my eyes off her for a moment and 2 minutes later discovered 3 more pees, and a poop that had been stepped in and tracked all over the house.  I was so beyond it, for a moment I just looked at the mess and just went on cooking dinner. R was tired and still working on closing off the back garden so he wasn’t available to bail me out this time.

Oh well, welcome to parenthood. 


July 23, 2007

On a bleak day in February this year we took our 16 year old deathly ill dog and companion for her final car ride. 
At the vet’s office, she took her last breath in our arms; then we drove several miles to the animal crematorium with her beautiful body ‘sleeping’  in the back (she still looked so alive, I kept turning around thinking she might still be breathing). The drive home with her empty basket was as awful as any we’ve ever known, and the empty house was worse.  

As of Saturday July 21, our house is no longer empty. There are newspapers strewn around the floors, and dog toys all over the place; in short it is total chaos.  Our brand new 12 week old fox terrier puppy has come to stay. And all my arguments about how much easier it would be without a dog, how much cleaner, more organized, and less binding have
evaporated in a few hours.

Picture from the breeder’s site  

All three of us are still shell-shocked, my husband, the dog and I! We had to drive 6 hours in total to pick her up at the breeders, and the adjustment from ‘no dog’ to a lively puppy is a big one. She needs to be let out several times at night and frequently during the day, and for all of us everything is new.

Having an animal to raise and care for does come with a price, but the rewards far outbalance the disadvantages. For us anyway. Our house is a mess, our routine is in shambles, but we are a family again. Welcome into our lives, Lucida Bright (Lucie for short). Pictures coming.