This is the title page to my Paris Journal. I left it blank and stamped it upon my return, when I realized what was important to me. The dog is a memory drawing of a small dog we saw on one of the boulevards, being trained by his mistress (or perhaps training her).
The dogs in Paris are unlike American dogs. I devoted numerous pages in the journal to writing out my thoughts about this and my observations of individual dogs. It distills into this: because they are taken everywhere they are comfortable going everywhere and they move seamlessly through life with their people. It was not uncommon to see people standing on a street corning talking with friends while their dogs sat at their heels looking up as if following the conversation. I saw only two dogs during the entire trip who were pulling on their leashes. Both were under the "control" of rather ditzy looking teenagers.
Dogs in Paris walk in a way that I have only seen American dogs do in the breed ring (only at the highest levels; dogs who have been pampered and empowered) or in the field, when working their hearts out. In Paris dogs walk with this glide of contented purposefulness that is almost absent in Amercia.
I could have spent my entire trip doing nothing but drawing the dogs of Paris. But that was not this trip. I only had time to admire them in passing.
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Illustration © 2006 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved