A formerly homeless man who once sold his sketches for pocket change on the streets of London’s now sells them for thousands of dollars at exhibits — and credits his dog for turning his life around.
Up until a few years ago, John Dolan, 43, had been a heroin addict whose life had seen more than 300 criminal convictions, 30 stints in prison and long stretches of homelessness.
He was living on the streets when he took in George. The young Staffordshire bull terrier had been living with another homeless couple who had had acquired him in exchange for a can of beer. They’d found housing, but not dog-friendly housing, and George needed a home.
Dolan, who hadn’t exactly been living a life of responsibility, was worried about whether he was up to having a dog.
“How was I going to cope with him? I couldn’t even cope with myself,” he told the Guardian.
But George, he noticed, had a way of looking him in the eye when he talked, and the two quickly bonded. Dolan says it was the fear of losing George if he went to prison again that led him to give up crime.
“He’s like my child in a sense and I feel obliged to keep a roof over his head and keep him warm,” he said.
Of course, George was helping Dolan out in other ways, too. Dolan made more money panhandling when George was at his side. Still, Dolan says, he felt embarassed by begging.
“Sitting there holding out my hand was so embarrassing, so degrading. I didn’t like to look at people as they went past. I picked up the pen mainly so I could bury my head in a drawing pad.”
He started drawing the buildings, and drawing George, and, sitting with his dog on the sidewalk, he would sell the drawings for whatever he could get.
Then he was discovered. First he was commissioned to do some drawings for a book. Then a gallery director, Richard Howard-Griffin, asked if he would draw some large streetscapes for him.
Last fall he had his first exhibit. His second is now underway at the Howard Griffin Gallery in London, with proceeds being donated to The Big Issue Foundation and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Another exhibit, in Los Angeles, is in the works. And Dolan has published a book, “John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life.”
Dolan has a home now, but still sits on the street and draws, with George.
“I feel like he’s a guardian angel. If it hadn’t been for him I’d have never picked up my pen.”
(Top pPhoto: David Levene / the Guardian)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addict, angel, animals, art, artist, battersea dogs and cats home, big issue foundation, discovered, dog, dogs, george, guardian, homeless, homelessness, howard griffin gallery, john and george, john dolan, london, pets, poverty, responsibility, staffordshire bull terrier, street artist, the dog who changed my life
As fearless, outspoken, and in your face as they portray themselves, you’d think the gang at Rescue Ink would be a little more forthcoming about whatever it is that is going on within the organization, where, by some accounts, nearly half of the members — representing God only knows how many tattoos — have pulled out.
Instead, other than a vaguely worded official statement, they’ve left it up to their fans to figure out just who has left, and why.
Despite the continuing success of their National Geographic Channel TV show, and a recently released book, there are reports — mostly on Facebook — that four members have left the organization and the TV show, pretty much in unison, to pursue other interests.
The only official confirmation I could find was a statement by Rescue Ink member Mary Fayet posted on the group’s Facebook page of Joe Panz:
“Rescue Ink is an ever evolving animal rescue organization dedicated to battling animal abuse and neglect and assisting other animal-welfare agencies and shelters do the same. With much regret, we announce that some participants of Rescue Ink have chosen to depart the organization and as such we wish these departing members the best of luck in their future endeavors and thank them for their countless hours of dedication promoting the mission of Rescue Ink.
“Please be assured, however, that Rescue Ink, thanks to our founding members, countless dedicated recruits and volunteers’ remains stronger than ever and will continue to promote the Rescue Ink mission.”
The statement doesn’t say who has left. But, from what I can gather from the Facebook pages of Rescue Ink’s original members at least four – Eric, Angel, Robert and Batso — have departed.
Batso Maccharoli reports on his Facebook page: “THE INK OF RESCUE INK, THE ELDEST AND ORIGINAL MEMBER BATSO, HAS FLOWN THE COOP. I have decided to no longer be affiliated with Rescue Ink. I will continue to keep balance and harmony in my life by doing what I love most – helping.”
Rescue Ink, a nonprofit animal rescue organization based in Long Island, formed officially in 2008, and their TV show, “Rescue Ink: Unleashed,” premiered last year.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angel, Anthony "Big Ant" Rossano, batso, big ant, breaking up, departing, eric, Eric Olsen, facebook, fans, joe panz, Johnny O, leaving, members, national geographic channel, Nicholas "Batso" Richard Maccharoli Sr., organization, rescue, rescue ink, rescue ink unleashed, robert, television, tv show
Here’s the Today Show’s report on the 11-year-old boy whose dog, Angel, is being credited with saving him from being attacked by a cougar in British Columbia. The dog had surgery yesterday and is still under veterinary care. The boy, Austin Forman, says he has bought his dog “a big nice juicy steak” for her return home.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: angel, animals, attack, attacks, austin forman, boston bar, boy, british columbia, cougar, dogs, fights, golden retriever, pets, saves, today show, video
A golden retriever in British Columbia is being credited with saving an 11-year-old boy’s life, fending off a cougar that charged at the boy.
The dog, named — wouldn’t you just know it — “Angel,” had accompanied Austin Forman outside to get firewood.
When the cougar charged, Angel ran in front of it and tried to fight it off, allowing the boy to escape, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The boy ran into the house screaming, “A cougar is eating Angel!” Police were called and were at the home within minutes. The cougar had dragged the dog under the home’s back porch by then, and the dog could be heard crying, according to CTV News in Canada.
Police shot the cougar twice, but it continued attacking the dog until a third, fatal shot was fired. Even after it was killed, the cougar’s jaws were still clenched on Angel’s face, the boy’s mother said. The dog lay still for a moments, then took in a big gulp of air and got up.
The Formans, of Boston Bar, about 160 miles northeast of Vancouver, said Angel received numerous puncture wounds around her head and neck, as well as a swollen eye, but that she was being treated and recovering.
(Photo: Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a cougar is eating angel, angel, animals, attacked, attacks, austin forman, boston bar, boy, british columbia, canada, cougar, dog, fights off, firewood, golden retriever, hero, pets, royal canadian mounted police, saves
Petfinder.com has announced its annual ranking of the 10 most popular names for adoptable pets in 2009.
For the third year in a row, “Buddy” and “Max” came in at first and second for dogs, with “Lucy” and “Smokey” topping the list of cat names.
While many of the most common names have remained consistent year-to-year, there was one new name turning up on the list for both cats and dogs – “Bella.”
The top 10 dog names were: 1. Buddy; 2. Max; 3. Daisy; 4. Lucy; 5. Charlie; 6. Bella; 7. Molly; 8. Jack; 9. Sadie; 10. Lady.
The top 10 cat names: 1. Lucy; 2. Smokey; 3. Midnight; 4. Bella; 5. Molly; 6. Daisy; 7. Oreo; 8. Shadow; 9. Charlie; 10. Angel.
Petfinder.com is also sharing its favorite quirky and unusual names of the year, selected from more than 170 submissions received via Facebook and Twitter. Here are their favorites:
Shyanne Thailand Moo Goo Guy Pan, Mr. Tomfoolery Scardeycat Eliot, Rusty Buckets, KeelHaul, Too Fancy for You, Angry Donut, Maple Syrup, Hoseclamp, Prince Xavier Binxley, Hoku-ho’okele-wa’a.
“While funny names are always a big hit, we are also seeing a trend of pet parents giving their furry friends middle names, such as ‘Sunshine Ray,’ ‘Roxanna Bobanna Little’ and ‘Madison Wisconsin,’ suggesting that these animals are more like family members than family pets,” said Betsy Saul, the co-founder of Petfinder.com.
Petfinder.com is an online, searchable database of animals that need permanent homes, compiled from 12,900 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angel, bella, buddy, cats, charlie, common, daisy, dogs, funny, jack, lady, list, lucy, max, midnight, molly, most, names, oreo, pet, petfinder, petfinder.com, pets, popular, quirky, sadie, shadow, smokey, trend, unusual
Catholics are cross with Joanna Krupa, the Playboy cover girl and “Dancing with the Stars” competitor whose latest ad for PETA features her wearing nothing but angel wings and a crucifix.
Krupa unveiled the new “Be an Angel for Animals” PETA campaign at a protest this week outside Barkworks, a Los Angeles pet store that sells puppies.
The campaign, which urges people to adopt dogs rather than buy them, was quick to draw criticism from Catholic leaders.
“The fact is that cats and dogs are a lot safer in pet stores than they are in the hands of PETA employees,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement. “Moreover, pet stores don’t rip off Christian iconography and engage in cheap irreligious claims. PETA is a fraud.”
“It’s totally inappropriate,” said Deal Hudson, publisher of InsideCatholic.com. “It’s another instance of disrespect toward Christianity and another example of the kind of abuse that would never occur with any other major religion, because the outcry would be so immediate and so loud that the people behind it would immediately retreat.”
Krupa, herself a Catholic, responded that she’s just doing what the church should be doing — and by that, we’re pretty sure she meant fighting for defenseless animals as opposed to shedding clothing.
“As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads, which I am very proud of,” the New York Daily News quoted her as saying.
“I’m doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of god’s creation. I am a voice for innocent animals who are being neglected and dumped by the millions at shelters. In my heart I know that Jesus would never condone the suffering that results when dogs and cats are allowed to breed.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, adopt, adoption, angel, be an angel for animals, campaign, catholic, catholic league, catholics, church, cross, crucifix, dancer, dancing with the stars, joanna krupa, model, nude, nudity, peta, playboy, wings
The patient had been hit by a car and was unconscious.
The note said: “I have two dogs that need to be taken care of. You will need animal control because one of the dogs is a Rottweiler. She is a good girl. Her name is Karma, six years old. The other dog’s name is Jasmine, 10 years old.”
The note also listed three contact names, and had a hand-drawn map showing how to get to his house. It concluded: “Thank you. Someone please take care of my babies.”
The patient’s name was Michael Short, a loner with no family in Memphis. His coma would last for weeks. And as it turned out, the note he scrawled on notebook paper and stuffed in his wallet couldn’t have landed in better hands.
Paramedic Pamey Hunter, 46, an animal lover, worked the nightshift at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
When her shift ended at 7 a.m., Hunter found Short’s home. She was greeted by Karma, the Rottweiler, who barked, snarled and lunged at the chain-link fence. Hunter left, returning a few minutes later with dog treats. At first she tossed them to Karma. Before too long, she had Karma eating out of her hand.
Then she ran out of treats and went to get some more food.
Karma greeted her with a wag of the nubby tail when she returned, let her in, and permitted her to go check on the other dog, Jasmine.
Hunter found the older dog in the hallway. She fed both dogs and promised to return that evening before she went to work.
And that’s exactly what she did — for two months.
She also bought them dog beds, fresh hay for a doghouse and treats, took Jasmine to the vet for an ear infection, and gave her arthritis medicine every day. Hunter checked several times on Short, the 34-year-old man who spent weeks in a coma. It turned out to be his second major head injury, the first occuring when he was hit by a van at age 17. He couldn’t hear her, but Hunter assured him the dogs were being cared for.
When Short awoke from his coma, he asked about his dogs right away, and Hunter told him she’d bring them for a visit.
After Short went home, Hunter stayed in touch, and on Christmas, Short told her that Karma and Jasmine had been shopping and bought her a gift. She stopped by and Short handed her a small wrapped box. Inside was a necklace and a cross.
Hunter said she cared for Short’s dogs because didn’t want to call animal control. That’s what she told Cindy Wolff, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reporter who unearthed this story – the kind we don’t hear about nearly often enough.
“I knew because of the note that these dogs were the most important things to this man,” Hunter explained. “These dogs were all he had in the world and he wasn’t going to lose them if I could help it.”
Posted by John Woestendiek May 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angel, animals, care, coma, compassion, dog, dogs, dogsitting, emergency, friend, head injury, help, hospital, humanitarian, humanity, jasmine, karma, loner, memphis, michael short, note, pamey hunter, paramedic, pets, regional medical center, rescue, rottweiler, tennessee, treats, wallet