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Tattoo You
A loving tribute that’s more than skin deep.

Last spring, I wrote a story about dog tattoos, or more precisely, people who have tattoos—usually portraits—of their dogs. I was awed by the variety and beauty of these tributes. After we ran the story, I received so many wonderful photos of tattoos (which we posted on our old blog over the following weeks). Honestly, for a while there, I began to feel like I was writing for a dog-tattoo blog—so did a few less enthusiastic readers. So at the risk of exciting their ire once again, I have to share this latest tattoo from Elisa Bolvari, a loyal reader for the last eight years. Here’s what Elisa wrote about her tattto:

"It is a memorial to six canine friends I had the pleasure to live with during my life and who are now waiting for me on the other side (where I believe they are indeed joyful). My Dogs humble me—their freely shared love, unbridled joy of each day and willingness to share the most treasured, dirty, wet prize makes my heart swell. I thank them for truly being my Co-Pilots."

Her tattoo designer and artist was Mark Duhan of Skin Deep Ink Tattoo in New Milford, Conn. According to Elisa, Mark is also a dog lover, who “neva met a dog I didn’t like.”

I don’t have any tattoos myself—a soul-curdling fear of needles being one central reason—but when I see a work like Elisa’s and hear about her inspiration, I can almost imagine it. Almost.


Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Lois | March 25 2009 |

Wow! I'm sorry I missed the original article. My first tattoo is a combination of two symbols representing my two nephews. My second tattoo, which I got just this past November, represents my dogs. (I am, by the way, 38 and scared of needles!)

I struggled for months, weeks and hours, up until the day before my tattoo appointment trying to decide on the perfect dog tattoo. I considered portraits, paw prints, wolves howling at the moon, names, bones. You get the point. I finally settled on showing my dogs as the opposites that they are: dark/light, hyper/chill, fuzzy/sleek, female/male.... yin/yang.

I have a tattoo of two dogs who resemble my Parker and Abby, curled together in a yin/yang. The two 'dots' in the standard yin/yang symbol are replaced by tiny paw prints. It's a black and grey tattoo with some shading on my right arm. It's simple, elegant, the perfect balance...just like my dogs.

Submitted by Nicole | March 25 2009 |

I love that idea of the ying/yang sign!! If I ever get a 2nd dog, I may just do that!

Submitted by Anna Dibble | March 25 2009 |

Although I personally don't understand the tattoo impulse (It's SO permanent...what if you change your mind?!) it's fine for people to choose to tattoo pictures of their pets (or whatever) on their own skin - but I hope people don't start actually tattooing their dogs!

Submitted by Nicole | March 25 2009 |

I can relate to this story. I have a tattoo of my dogs pawprint on my left foot...my left foot because my dog is also a lefty when he shakes, hi-fives, etc. I never taught him to use his left paw, that is just the paw he always uses. I am also left handed as well, so it was a special bond for me. I do not have children, so normally only "animal people" can understand why I have done this.
What a great story! Thanks for posting it!

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