From an award-winning artist, a memoir of life with a difficult, beloved dog that will resonate with anybody who has ever had a less than perfectly behaved pet
When Nicole Georges was sixteen she adopted Beija, a dysfunctional shar-pei/corgi mix—a troublesome combination of tiny and attack, just like teenaged Nicole herself. For the next fifteen years, Beija would be the one constant in her life. Through depression, relationships gone awry, and an unmoored young adulthood played out against the backdrop of the Portland punk scene, Beija was there, wearing her “Don’t Pet Me” bandana.
Georges’s gorgeous graphic novel Fetch chronicles their symbiotic, codependent relationship and probes what it means to care for and be responsible to another living thing—a living thing that occasionally lunges at toddlers. Nicole turns to vets, dog whisperers, and even a pet psychic for help, but it is the moments of accommodation, adaption, and compassion that sustain them. Nicole never successfully taught Beija “sit,” but in the end, Beija taught Nicole how to stay.
"Every dog manual will tell you not to pick the dog hiding at the back of the cage," writes Georges (Calling Dr. Laura) in her second graphic memoir. Yet, in the midst of her own semi-feral childhood as a high school drop-out, Nicole adopts Beija, a mutt with an overly large shar-pei head, stubby legs, and a long dachshund body. Beija grows into a temperamental and challenging companion, with a hatred of men and a tendency to lunge at small children, and accompanies Nicole and her boyfriend to Portland, Ore., into a punk house full of underground musicians and artists. Fifteen years and many relationships later, Beija is still by Nicole's side, having taught her the true definition of loyalty, love, and personal boundaries. Drawn in black and white with watercolor washes and elegant hand lettering, this book is an homage to classic zine aesthetics that captures an incomparable friendship. An honest, moving portrayal of the essential bond between humans and animals.