Celebrated New Yorker artist Peter De Séve lost his dog recently after a long and happy life together. Darla was a pit bull who wriggled her way into Peter's illustrations in the same way that she wriggled her way into his life.
This was a painful loss for De Séve and is family. He describes how he found Darla running scared on the streets, and the influence she's had on his art in his most recent blog post. We're not at all surprised that, as of this writing, he hasn't wanted to post again since adding this tribute last month. Understood, understood.
In Peter's words:
...From the moment we spotted her twelve years ago on a cold and rainy night in Brooklyn, clicking down the middle of Court Street, she had us. Or perhaps I should say she had me....
I used Darla in as many pictures as I could, whenever a canine was needed (often even when one was not).
She was the sweetest, gentlest, funniest dog I ever knew and an important member of our family...
We've been longtime fans of De Séve's work. Tim was saddened when he found out that the dogs in Peter's work were actually his own pit bull. He was a staple in T's history lectures back when he was teaching History of American Illustration classes at the Academy of Art University in SF. He is adored for his stream-of-consciousness line sketches and warm, humorous, caricatures that make us fall in love with every person and animal he invents.
We're so sorry to see that his little muse has passed on, but heartened to know how much she delighted and inspired. That little piebald face of hers infected the readers of New Yorker and beyond. There's a true pit bull for you .... always finding a way to surprise us, charm us and then leave us wanting more.
Randall, Paulina, Fia and I are are all heartbroken, but we know how lucky we were to have her in our lives. She was, quite simply, the best.
Indeed, she was. Godspeed little Darla, and thank you Peter for sharing her with all of us through your wonderful art. (h/t Isaac Orloff for the news)
Annabelle: Inspired a cafe for dogs
Another darling that inspired her person towards creative life changes is Annabelle. She was a Hurricane Katrina survivor and a not-so-wanted guest in a New Mexico shelter after the storms. She barely made it out alive when a diehard rescuer caught wind of her plight and drove her back to safety in SF. Annabelle's big spirit and hurricane style personality came crashing into the life and times of Maureen (Mo) Murray and made a permanent impression. They were meant to be together.
Sadly, this diva passed on a short time ago of brain cancer and left Mo broken hearted and devastated. In her own words...
We miss her so bad you don't even know. There is a hole in our hearts as big as the sky and the only way we know how to survive without her, is to keep her spirit close with us. That's why we're opening AnnaBee's. She woulda loved having a place to hang out in Pacifica, in addition to the awesome beaches!
Mo recycled her enormous grief into a project that allows lucky dogs to be royalty for a day:
She opened a cafe - called AnnaBee's - that serves healthy style foods just for dogs, including pizza (wheat free or whole wheat crust), chicken pot pie, duck pâte brisée, waffles with peanut butter and bananas or yogurt and blueberries.
Okay, I'm hungry now - what about me? Lined up next door is a row of surf shops and carry-out restaurants, and Mo encourages the humans to grab a bite and bring it into the cafe where dog and people can eat family style and have themselves a day.
We had to see this brainchild for ourselves, so spent part of our Sunday soaking up the surf and sun and groovie vibe of Pacifica (AnnaBee's is right next to the beach). Besides dog dinners and cool art, they carry a bevy of spoiled dog wares like fancy collars and jackets. Sweet. Honky Tonky scored himself a pink trimmed gold lame vest number - Ooo la la - and we expect he'll be rocking it out in the Pride Parade in June.
Any and all pit bull dogs get a 10% discount at AnnaBee's - so go check it out and soak up the sincere love this lady demonstrates for the dogs. Above, Mary Ellen and Maureen voguing with Elliot and Honky Tonk
The best part of our visit was seeing what Mo has been able to accomplish with the driving force of her dog's memory fueling her on. Annabelle lives on (in bright pink with frills, no less) and every dog that gets to be very spoiled and very special for a day can thank her for that.