As a cartoonist who draws everything manually, a recent diagnosis of Macular Degeneration combined with the onset of cataracts was a bummer. Eyesight is the foundation of everything I do as an artist.
But, so is humor… After the initial shock of hearing the diagnosis, my natural tendency to seek humor in events took over. On a certain level, as I grow old(er), I tend to become more philosophical. Eventually I ask, “What lesson is there to learn from this seemingly very negative event?”
My optimistic alter-ego took over. He’s not always (translation: usually) realistic but he seems to find ways to get through tough times by shifting the focus to the sunny side of the street. What could be sunnier than getting a dog?!! Man’s best friend and all that it entails. I’ve always been amazed at a dog’s ability to find pleasure…anywhere, any time under almost any condition. Making lemonade out of lemons is their mantra.
This weekend, I went to my daughter-in-law’s 40th birthday celebration. There was a potluck dinner and Sonny, a big Golden Lab, was in doggy heaven. Everywhere he went there was food…at eye-level. Now, Sonny could have been named “Sunny” because of his personality and temperament. He’s a happy, well mannered, well trained dog but when there’s food involved, the “Lab” part takes over. Fortunately, there were enough people watching him to save him from himself. But that didn’t stop him from trying…
I think the cartoon idea came from watching Sonny’s unwavering, good-natured quest for food. It never seemed to bother him that people kept saying “no”. “No” simply meant “try another location”. It got me thinking about how a dog could make growing blind more palatable. That “never say die” attitude was infectious.
From there, I began to think of what I would want in my seeing eye dog. What would be the perfect dog? The answer was obvious: one that could draw!