Shelter Animal Portrait Project


...Dog men aren't that easy to find. Dog men, that's not the same as meeting a man with a dog.
Dog men are different. They become remarkably like dogs. They hold the same virtues: honesty,
loyalty, devotion, steadfastness, care, and love. They can endure the same suffering, the same
misunderstanding and rejection. They can abide Man and Time and circumstance.

—Tom Kazo

Trep - My Golden Hero

Over the years, I've adopted/rescued all of my pets, from the Afghan Hound thrown away because she shed clumps of hair, to all of our cats. But at the moment, I am not in a situation where I am able to offer a stable home to a pet in need of rescue. Anyway, how can any one person ever adopt every homeless pet? Certainly, a few people have tried, but usually to the detriment of the animals; they usually show up on the news. There's just always much more to do. So I've been very frustrated for a while now, wanting to do more to help homeless pets.

As an artist who specializes in accurate portrayals of animals, I so enjoy getting to know the individual personalities of my subjects; each is a unique being with its own character and idiosyncrasies. When I see an animal dead on the road, it hurts my heart. I grieve for the loss of that irreplaceable creature, and if it's obviously a pet, for that family, and wonder, What led up to that tragedy? And there are many dogs and cats which never even get the chance to show anyone who they are, an even greater tragedy.

For the past few years, as Contributing Editor of The Pet Planet Magazine (which runs all of its animal rescue listings for free), I've seen numerous pets longing for their "forever home." I am very excited to now realize that I do have a unique way to really help them, using my gifts, skills, and experience, along with the power of the internet.

Have you ever heard about a pet who survived a fire or other traumatic experience, and how people flocked to adopt it? People who would never visit an animal shelter are eager to give a home to a "celebrity" animal in the spotlight. This, of course, is why smart animal shelters bring their adoptive hopefuls to the public!

This is the mission of my Shelter Animal Portrait Project (the working title): to draw or paint portraits of animals in need of their forever homes, thereby making them into "celebrities" and then networking and publicizing these portraits all across the internet. I will add them to my website, blog about them on various communities, make "lenses" (small websites) on Squidoo, publicize them on Facebook and MySpace and other social networks. And anything else I can think of to blast their beauty out to the world!

From the original artwork, I will make and sell inexpensive prints to support the project, which will be sold mainly from my website and my Etsy shop. I also have a CafePress shop and the artwork will be placed on some of their vast array of products. If an animal shelter has a gift shop, I will supply them with some prints and notecards, but that's quite a ways off. Although my clients have paid me over a thousand dollars for their animal's portrait, I will paint or draw the animal at no charge to the shelter or the eventual owner. I will give the original art to the adoptive family upon the one-year anniversary of the blessed event.

Once I've hooked up the shelter and the people who want to adopt my portrait subject, then all negotiations are between those entities. My mission will be accomplished, one pet at a time!



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