It started with a stick.
A little dog with a BIG stick, to be precise.
Some twenty years previous, when Anna Danielle was very new to the world of greeting cards, a good friend suggested illustrating a dog’s habit of bringing home half a tree.
“I’d really like to keep this one” was the final caption and a best seller was born.
However, despite the stick design never leaving the top ten best sellers chart, Anna was always dissatisfied with the drawing. So whenever a reprint was due she tried the design again. Three more times to be precise.
Then one fine day when Anna was with her young family at a local park, she glanced up just in time to see the perfect “stick” muse pass by. And as luck would have it, this perfect stick muse stopped and stood still just long enough for Anna to take a photo. Now on a braver day, Anna would have introduced herself to the dog and its owners. As it transpires, on this occasion, Anna was without any ” I draw dogs” cards and being heavily pregnant she decided against trying to speed waddle after complete strangers to awkwardly say hello.
Some years later, six to be precise, a small world, could it possibly be my dog? mystery was solved.
The Baverstocks were the lucky owners of a wonderful wire haired Jack Russell (ish) dog called Badger. This gorgeous boy with his distinctive fur and pointy ears was adored by his family. An amazing ambassador for the canine world, Badger helped many children conquer their fear of dogs with his soft gentle nature.
His lifelong love for oversized sticks meant his owners often had to yell, ”LEGS” as Badger ran down narrow paths oblivious to catching the backs of any human legs that might be in the way! Heartbreakingly, Badger passed away in October 2016 but it wasn’t until the May of this year that this story gets goosebumpy.
Mark Baverstock received a card from his sister in law who had marveled at the design’s likeness to Badger. In fact, the drawing looked so much like Badger, Mark felt compelled to message and ask the question,
“Who is the STICK dog?”
An hour’s worth of timeline thoughts and file searching plus numerous messages later it was confirmed. Badger and STICK DOG were one and the same. The sliding doors moment between artist, muse and owner happened not three years past on Christmas Day as Anna had believed, but six years past on New Year’s Eve.
The Baverstocks of Milton Keynes were in Derby visiting good friends. Young Badger had not only drank half the boating lake but also discovered to his absolute joy, a wonderful stick. The best in the park, to be precise! The above photos Anna had taken obviously focused on Badger but in the background, Mark could clearly identify his friend’s legs and his own jacket and trousers and matched them to his own photos from that same day.
The day turned out to be rather memorable as Badger saw in the New Year with an emergency visit to the Vets due to his overindulgence of lake water.
For Anna, it is a delight to be able to put a name to the handsome muse who finally brought satisfaction to her artistic itch and for the Baverstock’s it’s a crazy, bittersweet tribute to their little furry boy who filled their world with so much love, laughter and happiness.