Almost completely legal – Bob the Squirrel at 19
It has taken me 6,343 strips to get to this point… and in some way I still feel like I’m faking it. Like someone is going to find out my secret and blow the whole show. Seriously.
Today Bob the Squirrel turns 19. Nineteen years ago I was in the right place at the right time with the right tools and the right desire. Funny how I ignored all that and started drawing a squirrel. Story of my life really… at least 19 years of it.
In squirrel years, a 19-year-old Bob would be past a fossil and rapidly becoming crude oil… still useful, but hard to write a comic with.
I can’t stop now, I’m just starting to understand what maybe being warmed up feels like.
Maggie the Pug – 2010-2021
There’s one more hole in our lives today.
One more chapter ending.
One less bowl to fill in the morning.
One less bark at the door.
Yesterday, we made the difficult decision to put Maggie, our beloved pug, the matriarch of the clan, to sleep.
Over the last year, her health had steadily deteriorated. She lost both her sight and hearing. She was hospitalized for nearly a week with pancreatitis… and we were giving her daily steroid treatment and insulin injections. We would carry her everywhere. When we didn’t she would use her sense of smell to get around the house. Every now and then, when Lez would be in her office and I in my studio, we’d hear a little thump… which was Maggie walking into walls and doorways. I would joke that we should get her a small helmet for when she walks.
When handing out snacks to the crew, we’d have to tap Maggie on the head and let her smell so she could get her snack. Otherwise she’d search the floor for it.
There were at least three times we thought she was going to pass away, only to have her bounce back as if she were never ill. Sometimes, all it took was a helping of Lez’s rigatoni to brighten her up.
She was a little fighter… yesterday she just couldn’t fight anymore.
When Maggie was a puppy, she was left for dead. Animal control found her wandering on a street. She was a little runt and had a cherry eye… which made her unattractive and perceived as deformed. The animal control people estimated she was only a few weeks old when they found her. What kind of sick person would do that?
It was fate. Lez was at the humane society just as the truck pulled in… Maggie was in the cab. Lez took one look at her and just had to have her. She called me and said, “We need to talk.”
As soon as she showed me a picture of this helpless puppy, the conversation was over. No one but us and our island of misfits could give this puppy the love and home she deserves. From there we had nearly eleven years of stories, pictures and just love. Maggie was the second child that Lez never had. She’d carry her like a baby… and whenever anyone would come near Lez while Maggie was in her arms, you’d get a Maggie warning to keep your social distance. I would often say that if Lez had to choose between Maggie and me… Maggie would win… and I’d be cool with that.
When Lucy passed away I remarked that she was “the best worst dog ever” because she was so bad. Maggie was just the best best dog.
She will be missed. Life will be different. It always is.
Today is the last time I will draw Maggie in my ongoing Family Styles series. Thank you all for your kind words and accompanying us on our journey together. Maggie will make her last appearance in Bob the Squirrel starting the week of February 15, 2021.
I’m seeing a lot of myself…
An annual tradition… although maybe I should have lived in 2021 a bit longer to get a sense of who the 2021 Frank is. Eh. I’ll wait a week longer next year.
It’s not just about what I’ve looked like. It’s about how I’ve seen myself and interpreted that image. Very interesting.