For dog lovers, the month of August is known as “Dogust,” the month we celebrate dogs.
Since 2020, August has been known as National Dog Month. All month, dog lovers celebrate their furry friends and raise awareness of important causes.
From August 7 to 13, it was International Assistance Dog Week, which raises awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs, while August 23 was International Blind Dog Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of blind dogs. It was followed by August 26, National Dog Day, as was Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, which celebrates pets who have passed away.
It’s a month to look back on famous dogs in films—be it Dorothy’s cairn terrier Toto in The Wizard of Oz, to Lassie and even Elle Woods’ companion, Bruiser the chihuahua, in Legally Blonde. Fashion designers, too, count pups as their muses, like Valentino Garavani, who has 11 pugs, or Donna Karan, who has a chocolate lab. Meanwhile, Thom Browne, owns a Dachshund, while Marc Jacobs has a bull terrier. And yes, dog clothing boutiques have had sales to help owners celebrate National Dog Day in style.
One stylish tattoo artist named Kimria has a reputation for inking dogs on their owner’s skin. Based at the Studiobysol tattoo studio in Seoul, she’s gaining clients from as far as Los Angeles and New York, who travel halfway across the globe for one of her highly-detailed, adorable portraits of pets.
Ever since, she has become the quintessential go-to pet tattoo artist. “Actually, I started doing pet tattoos pretty organically,” she says. “It all started five years ago, when a client asked if I could make a drawing of their cat. It grew from there, as I loved the process. That’s how I started focusing on pets, and as a result, people from all over the world began to come to me to get pets tattoos. I still feel the most happiness when I’m working on pets.”
In fact, she has inked everything from French Bulldogs to Huskies and Maltese dogs. They all have a sincerity where the artist captures the soul of each pet.
“Pets are a very precious part of a family,” said Kim. “I’m not just tattooing them because it’s fashionable, each tattoo means a lot to the pet owner, and to me.”
The biggest challenge is in the subtleties of the design. “The most important thing is to capture a pet’s appearance as realistically as possible,” she said. “I try to concentrate on each individual hair. And because pets belong to my client’s precious family, I try to work on it with all my heart.”
Every pet story is touching, but one that Kim recalls is inking a Shih Tzu named Coco, who was 16 years old, at the time. She inked it on her client’s inner arm, near her heart. At the time, Coco was very ill. “Halfway through the tattoo, the client received a call that her dog had passed away,” said Kim.
“Rushing out, she did not finish her tattoo. The client returned a few months later to complete it, and we cried and laughed as we talked about her beloved Coco. The client said that even though her dog was no longer with her, she would always be there through this tattoo.”
Half of Kim’s clients get their pets inked who are still alive, while the other half are using them to remember their pets who have passed away. “I want to make sure each tattoo is as realistic as possible,” she said. “Sometimes, photos is all they have left.”
Her passion for pet tattoos comes down to her own dog, a mutt named Go Bok-su, which she got from a shelter in 2009. His personality inspires the subtleties in her own dog tattoo designs.
“Sometimes he’s sensitive, sometimes he wants to be alone, or be together,” said Kim. “Like all old dogs, he’s like a human, sometimes.”