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Portraits in Play-Doh

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Phoebe and Zack still side by side, just as they were in life

Some pet owners memorialize their beloved pets with photographs, oil paintings, or even taxidermy. In our case, we chose colorful modeling clay. I can’t recall exactly when or how it happened, but at some point more than 20 years ago both the Big Guy and I decided it was necessary to create, in our amateur way, our impressions of our pitbull Phoebe and young German Shepherd Zack (also known as Zene or Zeno).

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To the Big Guy, Phoebe’s best qualities included her soft ears, her bulky body, and her relatively short legs. He also took some time with her facial features — although I have to note her eyes were not green… and neither was her nose.

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I sculpted Zack with large ears, a sharp nose, and an even sharper backbone. From the time we first brought him home he remained extremely thin no matter how much chicken and rice we fed him; he suffered a number of health issues due to overbreeding and, sadly, died at a fairly young age. Still, he took his role as watchdog very seriously and was always on the alert.

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Two wonderful dogs, still missed

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