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My First Tattoo Experience

Last month I decided to finally go through with getting my first tattoo. It's something I've been wanting for a while, but like most things, I was extremely picky about every little detail. The design, the color, the location, the tattoo artist. You name it, I wanted to handpick every single thing. I mean come on, it's permanent so I wasn't messing around.

Picking the design was easy. I wanted Wrigley's pawprint. For those of you who may not know, Wrigley is my first dog. Well, not my first-ever dog, but he's the first dog I've had, by myself - you know, not a family dog. Not to mention, I'm completely obsessed with him. But, I also wanted this tattoo to be a specific color. It needed to be liver brown or mocha brown. I can hear a few of you now, dry-heaving or making that weird confused sound people make when they're trying to figure out why someone would want something so far from anything normal. Here's the deal. I've always had brown dogs. My first-ever dog, Molly; a chocolate lab. My second dog, Oakley; a German Shorthaired Pointer with liver brown speckles and spots. Wrigley, oh yeah, a chocolate lab. These three dogs were/are such important parts of my life so of course, I want my tattoo to remind me of all three of them.

Getting the design was pretty easy, I mean it's Wrigley's pawprint and he pretty much cooperates with all of my weird ideas. Once I had a decent pawprint (for reference I used non-toxic ink and made sure to get a couple of different prints for the tattoo artist to choose from).

Now here's where it got a little tricky, finding my tattoo artist and picking where I wanted my tattoo. Thankfully my brother and my dad had both gotten tattoos pretty close to when I got mine so I was able to see how incredible Mary at Vermont Custom Tattoo and Piercing was without having to be in Vermont (because I still lived in Kentucky at the time). Seriously, if you're in the New England area or honestly just willing to make the drive to Burlington, VT do it, Mary was amazing!

I could go on and on about how amazing she is but I think what I loved most about her besides just her fun and creative attitude was the fact that she knew her sh*t. Remember how I was a psycho about the color? Well, Mary was able to use a super dark mocha ink (which looks almost black in pictures) but the perfect shade in the light so that the tattoo wouldn't look weirdly faded. She was also able to get so much detail out of the pawprint, I'm talking about the tiny hairs between his toes and she shaded it to match the shading of the print.

Anyways, enough about all of the pre-stick sh*t. Let's talk about actually getting my tattoo. So, I decided I wanted it on my rib cage. Everyone I talked to told me it was going to hurt like a b*tch and honestly I was fine with it. First off, I have a pretty high tolerance for needles and things and second, once my mind was made up, that was that.

Here's the deal, getting a tattoo really wasn't bad. I mean sure, parts of it definitely stung more than others but overall the worst part was the serious ab cramp I had at the end from my muscles tensing up for almost an hour. My top tip would be to find a tattoo artist who matches your personality and is willing to listen. Mary was awesome and told me from the start that we could stop whenever I needed a break. Plus, if you're nervous or have a low pain tolerance I'd recommend something small with little line work (at least that's what people told me).

The biggest thing I found with getting a tattoo was the aftercare. You have to take care of it. That means, no sun, a sh*t ton of Aquaphor, and don't freaking touch it if you don't have to. Mine took about 2 weeks to fully heal and after that, there were no issues. It's going to peel and it'll look pretty red and angry the first day or two after you get it done but as long as you stick with Aquaphor 3-4 times a day and all of the instructions your artist tells you it'll be fine! In fact, I spent the day on the lake the day after I got mine done! I just wore a one-piece and kept it as dry as possible!

Definitely check out Mary at Vermont Custom Tattoo and Piercings if you're looking for a great tattoo artist and check out her Instagram to see more of her awesome work!

24 hours after getting it done. Still a little red but already looking fantastic!
This is the tattoo my dad had designed for our dog Oakley!

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