Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My, What Big Eyes You Have

I'm not one to care too much about the decor of my office at work.  As long as I have a sturdy desk, decent computer and plenty of desktop junk, I'm good.  But as it happens, my office turned out to be the perfect place to display one of my larger collections.

I work for a nonprofit animal welfare organization.  Basically, we're a large animal shelter with numerous programs and community services.  So hey, we all love animals, right?  I figured my horde of sad-eyed Enesco pity puppies and pity kitties would be right at home.

I've been picking up these little beauties one at a time over the last 10 years or so.  My personal policy is to never pay more than five bucks for one of them (although I confess that I've broken that rule a couple times for ones I simply had to have -- you know how it goes).  These were mass-produced to an unbelievable degree in the 1960s, so they're simply not scarce or rare, and paying a lot for them is just silly.

Here's another view, to give you an idea of the depth of the big-eyed insanity on top of my file cabinet:

Oh, and did I mention I also collect those pressed-cardboard faux paintings of pity kitties and pity puppies?  You gotta love the Gigs:

That's the office wall behind my desk.  I know the whole pity puppy phenomenon isn't to everyone's liking, but I figured that since I work at a shelter, people would dig 'em.  But it's been a mixed reaction.

I can use the figurines and prints as a kind of litmus test when I meet new employees.  If they go, "Omigod, those are terrible!  How can you live with them just STARING at you like that?  It's soooooo sad!" then it's a pretty safe bet we're not going to be bosom buddies.  However, the one person in five who says, "Heh.  Those are awesome" is probably going to be my new BFF, or at least someone with a decent sense of irony.

Because these images don't make me sad.  In fact, they kind of crack me up.  They're just so unbelievably over-the-top.  I mean, it's not enough that the miserable-looking pups and kitties with the beseeching eyes look like their hydrocephalic heads are about to snap off their spindly little necks.  But the artist had to go one further and put them in downright horrifying situations, to further emphasize the pathetic mood.  One has a frayed rope around its neck and a few bread crusts (BREAD CRUSTS!) to eat.  Another is in a seedy alley with overturned garbage cans.  Then there's the junkyard, railroad tracks, and kitten-trapped-outside-the-window.

This collection is a little later vintage than I usually collect, but I don't know what to say.  I just have some kind of fondness for these freaky big-eyed animals.  Don't know why.

On another subject entirely, here's Atomic Auntie's atomic puglet, who accompanies me to work every day.
What?  Totally unrelated.


  1. I think they're fantastic! I've never seen so many in one place before and I love the impact of all of those pitiful eyes. But only in the pretend world, of course. I love that your pug gets to go to work with you. That would be so much fun.

  2. Eeeek! The fabulous Eartha Kitsch (who has one of my all-time favorite blogs, Ranch Dressing) is commenting on MY blog, y'all. Thanks, Eartha! Yeah, 35+ pairs of sad weepy eyes really pack a punch when they're seen together.

  3. There was one pity kitty print that I have wanted sooo bad, my sister basically stole it from me when I moved out and had yet to return home to get the rest of my belongings (I joined the army, got married and moved to Alaska ... wasn't much room in the car to get there) .. I have been looking for one ever since! It's the Nefertiti print. The black kitty on the cement steps next to the brick wall. I had that on my wall in my bedroom for as long as I can remember. My mother used to have it on the wall in her living room and when I was old enough, I inherited it (I was about 5 or 6) .. If you find another, please let me know .. I would loooooove love love it.

  4. Hello there! I came across your blog and noticed you have some of the Pity Puppies art! I have found it so impossible to find many images of these. The one in the top right corner is one that I had hanging on my wall as a child for years until it got water damaged, sadly. I was completely in love with it and have been searching forever to find a print or something of it. It's the one with the bus stop sign and the little black and white puppy. I know this is a crazy request, but would you ever consider selling it or is there anywhere you know of that I would be able to find a print of it? My name is Jessica Cottrill and my email is Thanks very much. Hope to hear from you.

  5. hi, just wondering if you know the original artist name of the pitty cat photos. i have a picture that looks the one in one of your pictures where the cat is sitting on the trash can but mine is what looks like it was oil painted on very old piece of wood. really like the painting but unable to read the original signature of the artist. thank you.