Puppy Dog Tails

October 5, 2014

SKETCH_COOKIEWe’re having a heat wave over here in Northern California. I love it, but Cookie, not so much. I’m taking advantage of the quiet times to draw puppy dog tails and stuff.



SKETCH_3Stay cool, everyone!


A Letter to an Old Friend

August 10, 2014

lucy_seattle_metI’ve seen the face of God. There she is in the sparkling eyes, gentle brow, moist nose and sweet smile of this miracle creature.

Last Sunday my sister had to say goodbye to her beloved best friend and loyal companion, Lucy, the bulldog.  After 11 beautiful years on Earth, Lucy’s body was failing her and she finally gave Dionne permission to let her go. As a friend so perfectly stated, “she gave [Lucy] the hardest but kindest gift” in the end.

I have experienced the passing of a pet before. I have had pain and sadness in my life… but I’m not sure I have ever been so sad as I was last week. I cried for my sister and her loss. I cried for all the forgotten animals who never had the chance to live a life so full and loving as our own cherished pets. I cried for myself because my own Bulldog, Cookie, is getting older and well… you know. But, I also cried for Lucy, because she was now finally free to run and play. She really was the fastest, toy loving-est bulldog I have ever seen. SO FAST! When I picture her at the Rainbow Bridge, I see her as a perfect fawn colored puppy, running wild, eyes wide open and jowls flapping in the wind. Oh, and wearing tube socks.

stay gold lucyOn the day Lucy went to heaven, Dionne posted the most beautiful, thoughtful tribute to a dog that I have ever read. It makes me cry every time I read it.

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This is a testimony to the power of loving a dog. Their power to heal us, fill our emptiness, and cure our loneliness with unparalleled loving kindness. Andrew W.K. penned a lovely article about the privilege of spending time with these “miracle angels of God.” I hope you will read it and share it with anyone who has had to say goodbye to their canine companion and might find comfort in this reminder.

I wrote Lucy a tiny goodbye letter and dropped it off at the Tiny Post Office in Tilden Park. Tim and I had been hiking this area one day, and then, upon returning home, learned about this treehouse treasure in the woods where we had just been! We went back the following day to find it.

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My letter was addressed to Lucy c/o the Rainbow Bridge and I even put a stamp on it, so I hope she gets it. I also left her a little friend. You can see that other visitors have left tokens and various personal effects for the fairies.

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Among the tiny treasures, I found a tiny book. The first page I opened to was my favorite Aesop’s fable. A little spark of magic, as this story has special meaning for my sister and I.

2014-08-07 13.06.48I believe in magic. I believe in spirituality and reincarnation. I believe we will meet up with Lucy again. She was so loved, a selfless and noble being who brought out the best in everyone. And blessed her mother’s life with unconditional love and beauty.

She will be in our hearts always.

Goodbye, sweet Lucy! You were the best damn dog in the world and forever would not have been enough. Run free and wild!

Here comes Cookie cotton tail!

April 18, 2014

Them ain’t no candy eggs.


Have a great weekend, everybully!

Have you seen this dog?

March 23, 2014

Ha ha. The other day I disguised Cookie as a giant baby so that I could take her into the market with me to the salad bar.cookieTo my credit, it was very spontaneous decision and all in Cookie’s best interest. We had gone on an afternoon stroll when I noticed that the salad bar was open at the new Richmond Grocery Annex.

2014-03-23 12.16.08I also noticed that it being the middle of a weekday, most all of the patrons inside were mothers or nannies with baby stuffed strollers. Soooooo … instead of leaving my precious cargo parked outside of the front of the door (WHICH I WOULD NEVER, EVER DO), I decided that a little white lie wouldn’t hurt anyone. I threw a blanket over this thing:

strollerAnd rolled right in. For a moment I definitely felt like Lucy Ricardo with her giant imported cheese on the airplane. Especially when one of the employees offered to carry my groceries for me because it looked like “I had my hands full.”

1510902_10203633757551355_1923622107_nCoincidentally, Cookie did smell mildly like a sausage. But, not one person noticed that I brought my 65 lb. bulldog into the Health Food Store. We were only in there for 10 minutes and we were just minding our own business. Later we enjoyed our salad at the park. Here is a sweet moment I captured of Cookie watching the children at play.

2014-03-18 18.12.39You know, often times when people see me walking with Cookie in her stroller, they are surprised to see that what they thought was a baby at first glance is actually a geriatric dog. This always reminds me of that Warner Bros. cartoon, Baby Buggy Bunny. The one where the baby in the pram is actually a diminutive, scrappy bank robber named Babyface Finster. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 2.19.44 PMOh look at the cute baby! AGGHHHHH! That’s not a BABY!

2014-03-23 12.17.36It’s always an adventure with Cookie! I do take her out on the town every day so she can get some enrichment. Also, our daily mother/daughter stroll is a small bright spot in my day that makes me very happy. I will leave you with this clip of Our Girl getting ready for her Slow Ride. I wonder what kind of antics we will encounter today. Take it easy everybody!




Phone cases, greeting cards and shower curtains, OH MY!

February 28, 2014

Well, since I’ve got bulldogs on the brain at all times, it only made sense to start a line of products with my original doggie illustrations! I have phone cases, art prints, stationary cards, throw pillows, tote bags and SHOWER CURTAINS! Ha-Ha! Who knew?

You can find my Dog Day Afternoon series for sale on Society6 here.

A cuckoo clock bulldog!

A cuckoo clock bulldog!

You can also find the rest of my collection, Confused Cuckoo Critters for sale on my shop page: http://society6.com/DawnGonzales

My new line of products for sale at Society6.

My new line of products for sale at Society6.

I’m so excited to have tried something new. So excited that I’m back to the drawing board right now! And I mean that in a good way. Have a great weekend everybody.

Ready for our close-up

February 20, 2014

All of these picture are going to look the same to you guys, but I’m going to try to show you the subtle differences in Cookie’s demeanor.

1 purinaFirst and foremost, some of you may already know that Cookie and I were chosen to audition for a web mini-documentary! And we made the final cut. It’s for a company that we do not patronize, but the final product sounds like it will tell a good story: Real dogs and real people.

Can’t get any more real than me and my 55 lb roly-poly shadow.

Anyway, last Thursday we were filmed telling our story at Ohlone Park in Berkeley, CA. This was kind of a big deal, because the director is Jake Kornbluth, a big-time documentary guy most famous for his works, Inequality for All and Haiku Tunnel (co-written by and starring his brother, Josh Kornbluth, who I love). That’s Jake in the plaid shirt.

boom 2Here is Cookie looking confused at the whole scenario. We had to find a secluded section of the dog park because she does not play well with others. I imagine she is thinking, “I can haz boom thingy?”  The sound guy is laughing.

close up_montageLook at how enthused Cookie looks after the boom situation gets old (top right). Ha-ha. The bottom corner picture is of the cameraman getting a real tight shot of our faces after I bragged about Cookie’s kissing abilities.  A few of the questions we were asked to “loosen us up” were: 

“How is Cookie most like a person?” – Um, she likes to nap a lot and she’s a food hoarder like her mom?

“What makes Cookie special?” – Gah! Just look at her!

“Does Cookie enjoy wearing her bandana?” – MAGIC QUESTION. I talked for 20 minutes and I don’t remember a thing I said.

Many dogs and owners were filmed at the park that day (and it was only the first day of shooting!). Service dogs. Dogs that ran. Dogs that fetched. Dogs that even climbed trees. And then, like Maude, there’s Cookie. So, who knows, we could end up on the cutting room floor.  But, if color coordination and cute faces have anything to with making it to the end, we are a shoe-in! Four tiny pink shoes with velcro closures to be exact.

This is exciting. I hope we make it into the commercial documentary, but if not, it was still a great experience. Also, we got paid! We’ll keep you posted of our potential silver screen breakthrough! (I just got a mental image of Cookie bursting through a canvas like the Kool-Aid Man. OH YEAH!)

Good Day, Sunshine

January 25, 2014

It’s as beautiful as a summer day outside.IMG_8837And here’s some cuteness for you guys to look at.


picstitch0Let’s have a great weekend, shall we?




January 24, 2014

gotcha collageOh my gosh. We have been so busy this year that we almost forgot the anniversary of Cookie’s Gotcha Day! Five years ago on January 20, 2008, our sweet, special girl came into our lives. She makes everything in our world better. Thank you, BCARN, for letting us adopt the most precious little nugget there ever was.


Driving Miss Crazy

January 19, 2014

IMG_2735_smYesterday I blogged that Cookie was entering her Golden Years. Well, today’s Sunday stroll is proof of that. Since she cannot walk very far these days due to her arthritis, we like to take her out and about in her red stroller so she can get some air. Oh, we get lots of smiles, and toots from car horns. We always send a little jingle back.

IMG_2731_smToday we went for coffee, and then tried to take her to the Richmond Annex Senior Center so she could play mahjong with her friends.

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 4.05.25 PMBut, once we got there, we realized it was closed for the MLK holiday weekend!

IMG_2717_smCookie had a dream, and it did not come true :( Alas, if we have learned anything in our old age, it’s that we are resilient. We had fun. We enjoyed being outside. We soaked in the sun and enjoyed each other’s company. Life is good. Happy Sunday.

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An Illustrated Life

January 18, 2014

POST 1Happy New Year, everybody! 2014 is off to a very colorful start. Gold, in fact. Yes, Cookie is now an official “golden girl.” She will turn 10 or 11 (we don’t know for sure) next month. She is happy and healthy, although a bit slower. She’s retired from Beast Editorial and spending most of her days napping at home or strolling around the neighborhood in her new wheels.

IMG_2801I too, have made a big career change! After 14 years at Gap, Inc. as part of the Creative Services team for Old Navy, I have moved on to the wonderful world of freelance.  I’m happier already. Feeling good about slowing down, too, and spending more time on the details. While I have been working to get my online environment/visual design portfolio up and running (url to come!), I’ve also taken to sketching, analog style!

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.20.20 PMI have four little sketchbooks that I have been filling up with drawings of my favorite subject, Cookie Blanca! Sometimes I do a little sketch in 30 seconds. Sometimes I work on one that takes all day. The point is, I’m tapping back into my natural-born talent and first art love, drawing with good ol’ fashioned pens and paper.

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.19.41 PMIt’s been such a joyful way to spend any spare moments I have.  For me, it is a great way to practice mindfulness and being peaceful. Here are a few more:

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Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.25.26 PMAh, what the heck, and a few MORE!

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Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.56.54 PMWe’ve come this far, let’s see it through to the end!

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Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 1.15.24 PMWas that too many? Ha Ha. These little sketches and our quiet time together is what’s making us happy these days.


Look how pink and healthy we look! Anyway, I’m excited that I will have an illustrated record of my sweet girl to cherish forever.

We’re only half way through January and another exciting thing is happening. At the end of last year, we set a goal to be more active in Bulldog Rescue. I’m happy to say that today Tim and I completed our first assignment as volunteers: a home check for a prospective adoptive family in Berkeley. It was a great experience, and I hope it works out for everyone. Happy Happy Happy new year, dear readers. We missed you. But we’re back, better than ever and in living color.


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