The Dog House

I was walking slowly, the hot, humid day made the air feel thick and I had given into its languor. I’d turned off the main road, into a side street, lined by of Federation semis with dark brick walls and tiled steps. Looking up, I saw that in the centre of the gable of one of the houses was an insignia, ringed by a white frame.

I stopped to decipher it. As I had suspected, but not fully believed, it was the head of a dog. The dog was in profile, head and neck down to the collar, and wore an expression of obedient patience.

These kinds of houses come as a pair, each a mirror image of its neighbour. So as I walked on to the adjoining house, I looked up to see if it too had a canine mascot.

This house was painted in different colours, burgundy and cream to its neighbour’s green and white. The painter had not stopped there. For when I looked up to see the matching dog in the centre of the circle, I found it to have a new identity.

It is a small thing, but I like to think of these two moments. A century ago the dogs being outlined in the plaster and then, in more recent times, someone up on a ladder holding the brush, putting the finishing touches to the cat’s whiskers, with a feline sense of satisfaction.

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8 Comments on “The Dog House”

  1. nikkola1 says:

    Love you musings!
    I’m sure there is a children’s book called cat dog that I used to read to my boys – the diurnal wandering in and out of the house by the two pets. Dinner time I remember was frantic! In the book that is 😉

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thank you – noticing this certainly made my day – especially as someone who has equal love for cats and dogs. I should check out the book!

  2. Suzy King says:

    > Hi Vanessa, > Wow! There must be a good story behind these! > May be worth some research, perhaps a fashion at one time? Or famous animals, > or just an animal lover. > Cheers, > Suzy > >>> suzy king australian artist >>> >>> studio@suzyking.com >>> 0414 552 077 >>> ig: @suzykingartist >>> http://www.suzyking.com >>> >>> PO Box 360 Rozelle NSW 2039 AUSTRALIA

    From: “WordPress.com” Reply-To: Date: Saturday, 24 February 2018 5:56 pm To: Suzy King Subject: [New post] The Dog House

    WordPress.com Vanessa Berry posted: “I was walking slowly, the hot, humid day made the air feel thick and I had given into its languor. I’d turned off the main road, into a side street, lined by of Federation semis with dark brick walls and tiled steps. Looking up, I saw that in the centre o”

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Hi Suzy – yes, it’s certainly not the usual house decoration: I had a bit of a dig and I think it can be explained by the fact the residents loved dogs. They were in the Scottie club… I wonder if they knew May Gibbs, Sydney’s most well known Scottie fan. Thanks for inspiring me to look into the story a bit more!

  3. Phillip Leeds says:

    Great observation. Currently enjoying your book, too. Cheers

  4. ijwilson says:

    Nice article – and nice story.

  5. Very interesting. Well spotted.


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