Three Newburyport pets have jumped from their three-dimensional, everyday world into a two-dimensional drawing that will print Saturday in newspapers across the globe in the international cartoon "Off the Mark," created by Gloucester resident Mark Parisi.
Suzanne Cap of Newburyport and her family were thrilled to be the winners of a contest to have their pets drawn in an "Off the Mark" comic – which appears on page 13 of Saturday's edition of Gloucester Daily Times. A few months ago, Cap had the winning bid on a silent auction item at the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society's annual "Fur Ball Gala." Parisi donated the item to have a local pet featured in a drawing he would design and bring to life.
Miss Molly, a 16-year-old Himalayan cat who was rescued on Cape Cod, was the winner of the contest and lives in the loving home of Suzanne's daughter, Olivia Cap, who is 28. Although Miss Molly was named the winner, Cap reached out to Parisi to see if her two dogs — McKinley, a rescue from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Delilah, a rescue from Waterbury, Connecticut — could be featured in the comic.
Cap wanted to give the comic as a gift to her daughter for the holidays and said including all three family pets would make it special. As the stars aligned, like they almost always do during Christmas, Cap said she received an email just before the holiday from Parisi with a drawing of her cat and two dogs. The comic features Miss Molly sitting front and center with a food bowl in front of her. McKinley and Delilah are featured on her left and right, however their names are crossed out in red X's on their dog bowls and replaced with Miss Molly's name.
"I think he really captured the dynamic between cats and dogs," Cap said. "Cats rule all. She's the queen."
The Cap family thought it was unique to have all three pets depicted in the cartoon, especially since Delilah, an 18-year-old dachshund, died earlier this week, just before the cartoon had a chance to run in print. Cap adopted Delilah as a rescue 11 years ago this month when the little dog was 7 years old.
"She just was the sweetest, cuddliest little lapdog," said Cap, who added that Delilah enjoyed playing in the snow.
Her story, Cap said, was that Delilah had been in a family with many dogs who used to pick on her. The original family thought that was unfair, so they put the dachshund up for adoption. Up until that point Delilah was unhappy with other dogs, but created a tight bond with McKinley soon after, Cap said.
"When we first got her she was my mom's shadow and it was so funny, my sister and I — this was 11 years ago so we were younger and so excited to get a dog — but she wanted nothing to do with us," Olivia said. "She just wanted to follow our mom around everywhere."
McKinley, 3, a dachshund mix, belongs to Olivia's twin sister, Marissa. McKinley's story is interesting, according to Olivia, who said her sister adopted the pooch from a rescue in Corpus Christi while Marissa was working as a marine engineer on an oil tanker. The family described her as athletic and energetic.
"He's obviously the sweetest dog, he's so lovable," Cap said. "He loves attention and cuddling."
Miss Molly herself is the queen of the room, said Olivia, who noted she adopted her Himalayan from the Cape Cod location of the Animal Rescue League of Boston two years ago. Growing up with mostly dogs, Cap said she wanted to give a senior cat a loving home, noting that most people are drawn to kittens.
"It's important to me to adopt animals who are oftentimes kind of forgotten in shelters," Cap said. "Molly just fits my lifestyle better. She's very laid back, she definitely is a senior cat. She likes lounging. She's just a lap cat, really sweet, but also very sassy."
Once a comic is put together, Suzanne said, it's possible to buy all kinds of swag with the image on it, including coffee mugs and T-shirts. The family purchased a tote bag, note cards, coffee mugs and even shirts for the dogs.
"We've had a lot of fun with it," Cap said.
Amanda Getchell may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ajgetch.