Introducing Bert, my smelly, crotchety muse
Bert is really the original inspiration which lead me to take up drawing again.
Bert is an English springer spaniel. He came into our lives through the Mayhew Animal Home, an animal rescue charity in North London. He had been found abandoned on the North Circular ring road. At the time he was probably seven-and-a-half years old. He was wonderfully looked after by a foster family during his time with Mayhew since he didn't do well in the group surroundings of kennels at the centre itself. He was still very nervous and had obviously been kept, before his abandonment, in pretty poor conditions and bears scars indicating he had probably been attacked by other dogs.
Three years later he is now the dominant force in this household. He holds opinions and voices them. He is insufferably curious and a permanent trip hazard. He loves his walks and, because he may possibly have been brought up on a farm, thinks rabbit holes are the best thing since sliced bread, which is also, in his mind, one of the best things ever.
I started drawing him mostly as a shared joke with my partner, but this soon became the idea for a children's book. We hatched a story slowly over the weeks, and I dusted down my long past desktop publishing experience. The drawings now had a purpose and a subject.
So, Mayhew, I would like to give heartfelt thanks for introducing us to, and allowing us to adopt, Bert. Simply put, without Bert, I would almost certainly not have started drawing again. So, Mayhew, thank you, thank you, for the work you do.