A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)
Tattoo mania hit our family years after it spread across America. Brilliant petals popped to life in colors common to my set of oil paints across one of my daughter-in-law’s back, arms, and ankles.
My husband craved for one on his arm and asked me to design a second one in shorthand for his other arm.
I accompanied William to R U Tattooed for his first body art. He consulted with Inky to find the perfect artwork for his first tat. I watched as a magnificent cross spilled across his arm with a draped robe wrapped along the cross-bar. Beneath the cross, Inky wrote, “John 3:16.”
After receiving his tattoo, Molly fell in line for hers. Her veterinarian tattooed her with a rectangular patch across her side, measuring about seven inches long. The huge tattoo sliced across her white fur, leaving exposed skin that turned black from her summer tanning. Molly already attracted lots of attention because of her size and beauty. With this new addition, Molly never went unnoticed.
“How exotic!” said a woman on the street walking by Molly.
“You tattooed your dog?” A man shook his head as he hustled by.
I suppose tattoos are like chocolate chip cookies—you can never eat just one. A few weeks later, William left the house by himself for his second tattoo, carrying my paper design for Psalm 37:4. The design included the shorthand for “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
That evening after my writers’ conference, I met him at home curious to see what shorthand looked like on an arm. The tattoo read, Psalm 34:4 instead of Psalm, 37:4.
“Honey, the verse on your arm is different . . .” I did not want to be critical but the permanent etching on his arm did not match his favorite verse—the verse he used to capture my heart in marriage (more on that another time).
“When Inky laid out the pattern on my arm, it had the right verse and he remembered the verse because it’s one of his favorites.” William kept turning his arm to admire the artwork. “When he finished, this verse surprised both of us.”
I grabbed a Bible and opened it to the verse on his arm. I read, “I sought the Lord and He delivered me of my fears.”
“I’m good with it because this verse is exactly what God did with me in Vietnam. I cried out for Him to help me and He delivered me of my fears in Nam. I learned that the only thing I am to fear is God—not man, not circumstances, and not the enemy.”
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.
We agreed. The mistake was planned. Truly, it was a God-thing.
William regularly encounters people who ask him about his shorthand tattoo and Psalm 37:4. He loves to tell the story of how God miraculously tattooed a special verse on his arm.
As for Miss Molly’s tattoo, ink never touched her skin. The vet shaved her over an area she kept scratching to see what caused lumps beneath her fur. The vet speculated she had an allergic reaction to something outside. She gave Molly a triple dose of human antibiotics and a steroid spray. The area of the patch no longer reveals any trauma but now her underbelly resembles a bad case of acne. Returning to the pet hospital today, her veterinarian told us that it could be an allergic reaction or something else.
“This sometimes happens to dogs in their teens—they just break out like this and eventually it goes away.” Dr. Traci looked intensely at the affected area.
“Oh, so it is pimples,” I said.
We learned today from the veterinarian that shaving dogs and letting them sunbathe harms a dog’s skin so on our next spa treatment Molly will not get the full treatment but will still get the blueberry facial and the oatmeal scrub with just a trim.
If you meet up with William on the street any time soon, feel free to ask him about his tattoos. If you happen to see Miss Molly, please do not say anything about her complexion—like any teenager, she is very self-conscious!
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Do you have unusual tattoos? What inspired you to get them? Please share your thoughts below.
Photo credits: pculbrethgraft
About the blogger
Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.