Kathy Winkler Studio
A Big Furry Lovebug
My latest painting is of our first Doodle, Theodore T. Bear Winkler, alias, Teddy. Teddy is a gentleman extraordinaire, a very old soul, and totally devoted to us. He only ”asks” lovingly that we make sure that every whim and need is met by his servant “people”.
Teddy is an amazing Goldendoodle (half golden retriever/half standard poodle) - a designer dog who we adopted from an amazing doodle rescue organization called Doodlerescue.org, when he was about 22 months of age.
Just prior to starting the adoption process, we lost the last of 4 assorted adopted pups, 3 in less than 11 months, all about the same ages, 12 – 14 years. Losing any furry companion is heartbreaking. They all bring something different to the table.
I love dogs so much that I had begun to research different rescue breeds, and then I found the doodles. When we lost our black Lab, I waited for a couple of weeks, but could wait no longer. Adoption is not a simple process - it took me over 2 hours to fill out his adoption application papers, but I was told that we had the best application they had seen in their 9 years of operation. Of course, I still thought it might be a very long wait for a doodle, but we had a little better chance of getting one someday with a good application.
So, I went 20 days with no dog and couldn’t take it any longer. Then, I got the phone call, and I was back on Cloud 9. My 2 daughters, young granddaughter and I drove up to Montclair, NJ, to pick Teddy up the day after Christmas 7 years ago. I had no idea about his color, how big, etc. It took us 9 hours to get back to Virginia from just 7 miles from Manhattan. While we were driving, Jerry got a phone call from the doodle organization asking if we had gotten home safely. Jerry asked how big the dog was? The response was he was tall. Teddy now weighs 86 lbs. and is very trim. My whole thing about bringing any furry companion into our lives is Ta-Da.
We learned that Teddy had a family, I think in NY (?). They had given him up because they had had a second baby who had special needs, and thought they could not properly care for their doodle. Well, they put him on Craig’s list, and a broker picked him up and was brokering him to a medical lab, where he would be experimented on and disposed of when done. Doodle Rescue was notified about the listing and they stepped in and bought him from the broker. He had been crated in a garage, and he was quite dirty and matted when rescued. It is wonderful how these rescue organizations have people nation wide pulling dogs off Craig’s list, working closely with the organizations, and then the organizations find foster homes for them until they can place them. I did not know until this time that Craig’s list is a no-no for putting up dogs up for sale or for free. What are called “Bunchers” go around and purchase them. They sometimes use a woman to front for them saying she wants the dog for her kids. Then, the “Bunchers” pay the woman or person something for the dog, and they take the dog and turn it into a bait dog for dog fights. Bad business, to say the least.
Getting back to Teddy, his vocabulary is amazing! Really, these standard poodle crosses seem to read your mind and anticipate your actions. You just look at them and they know what to do. We had 3 of them until May of this year, and I feel like I could not possibly have too many.
Teddy does love a simple life. If you ask him if he wants a bath, all three dogs would run to the shower. No problem!!!!! He wants a daily walk, and has to have a ride in the car after he has breakfast. He goes to the closet without a word so we can put his harness on him. He loves to sit on our lap, or lie down on us. Now, ask me if it took very long for him to train us? The most endearing thing is when he has had enough of me standing at my easel for more than 2 hours; he comes up behind me, and gooses me behind the knee, and then puts his muzzle in my left hand because it is usually by my side. He won’t go away until I quit. He goes to bed at 9 p.m. If, we happen to be watching a movie, he stands in front of the TV and waits for me to get up so he can lead the way to “our” king sized bed that he thinks is his. He is willing to share it, as long as he can cuddle. I have to turn the overhead fan on, and then he puts his head on his pillow; we get up at 6 a.m. People have stopped us on walks and said he looks like Christmas. He is a gift - every day!!!!
Note: I decided to paint our doodles and the first painting is of Teddy - the first doodle we have ever been blessed with. The attached composite illustrates the evolution of his painting. The original photo of him has a more gold tint to it due to the lighting in the room, and of course, it is taken with my cell phone. Teddy is snow white, except for a little bisque on his back. I have to be very careful when I paint other animals I have photographed with my camera, because the colors picked up by the camera can be quite deceptive. That is why I always have a notebook with me to jot down character and color contrasts and hues of color when I am visiting bison, cattle or horse ranches.
I also wanted to portray Teddy with what he loves most. He loves stuffed animals, and does have a favorite or two. He loves this stuffed dog. When he picks up any toy, he puts his entire self into bearing down on his subject with his nose to squeak it. He has never, to our knowledge tried to squeak by biting - just one of his many endearing characteristics.