Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Dog Looks Like A Bag Lady

Dogs may not have fashion sense, but they can sense when someone loves them.

My first knitting project was just a plain, old scarf. I made it out of two skeins of acrylic yarn, in a color called “Old El Paso.” In retrospect, I should have done the old El Pass-o at the yarn shop. But the label said that it was “a velvety soft, 100% acrylic that looks like mohair.”

When the scarf was finished, I decided that I hated it. It wasn’t very soft, and it certainly wasn’t mohair. So, I unraveled it.

I finally decided to use the yarn and make a coat for one of our basenjis. We had three – two were old BRAT rescues. I decided that our girl Momma Roz, who at this point was 14 years old, could use a thick acrylic mohair-like sweater for the bitter upstate New York winters.

I got a pattern. I measured the dog. I followed the pattern. And I realized I wasn’t a very good knitter.

Still, Momma Roz knew exactly what that big hunk of fake mohair yarn was going to be. She wagged her tail and sat in front of me each time I sat down to work on it. Half way through, I decided to try it on her for size. When I put it on her, she pranced around the room, modeling it for me. She was probably showing off to the other two basenjis, excited that she was getting handmade knits.

My husband came home and saw Momma Roz in her unfinished sweater. Then he asked why the dog looked like a bag lady.

"A bag lady? Well, it's not finished. It needs sleeves."

"She looks like a bag lady."

"Well, it's just for going out on walks..."

"She looks like a bag lady."

He was right. She looked like a bag lady dog, in a 100% acrylic fake mohair coat.

I unraveled the sweater, and tried again. And again. Ultimately, I realized that Momma Roz didn’t really care what it looked like. She didn’t care that she looked like a bag lady. She just cared that it was warm, even if it looked ridiculous. And whenever I saw her in her little sweater, I told her how pretty she looked; she’d prance around the room showing off for me, and bragging to the other basenjis about how her sweater was hand knit, while theirs were store bought. My Momma Roz made acrylic look chic.

Momma Roz wore her fake mohair sweater nine months out of the year for two years, until she passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. She brought that sweater with her, and I bet she's showing it off, still.


(Dedicated to Momma Roz (aka Rosalyn) - our BRAT.)


  1. How sweet Lynda! Marc and I will be forever grateful that you took a chance and gave Roz and Calvin such a great home. These were two senior Basenjis that so needed yours and Ian's love and patience!

    And by the way, I think Roz looks gorgeous in her handmade fake mohair acrylic sweater!

  2. She does NOT look like a bag lady! She looks terrific. And pleased with herself.

    This is a nice story.

  3. *sniff*sniff* What a sweet story.

    Tonya Christiansen

  4. What a lovely story and a lovely memory. She's totally rocking the sweater at the Bridge. Thank you so much for sharing, even if it means exposing your knitting to public scrutiny, LOL!

  5. Roz knew when she was all wrapped up in love. :) Beautiful story, Lynda.