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Tag: drawing

Canadian dog lover with autism created art featured on the National Dog Show program

dog-show-program

There’s a story behind the cover of the program for this year’s National Dog Show — one that strikes us as far more interesting than who won the annual canine beauty pageant.

(For the record though, it was Newton, a Brussels Griffon, who captured best in show at the Thanksgiving Day event, held in Philadelphia.)

The official show program this year featured a cover (above) designed by a Manitoba artist who began painting dogs as a way to cope with struggles associated with autism.

rottweilerAlec Baldwin’s parents were told when he was 2½ years old that he had mild to severe autism and likely wouldn’t be able to speak until he was 18.

They refused to accept that. When schools didn’t seem to be expecting much out of him, or doing much for him, they took him out, figuring they could do a better job themselves. But the big change came when they brought him a how-to-draw dogs book.

“He just took off,” his mother, Tanis, told CBC News

Alec drew every dog in the Canadian Kennel Club book, and then every dog in the American Kennel Club book. He used watercolour pencils and made 200 portraits of dogs that he gave to the owners of his subjects. He is a dog handler who shows at competitions and is a Special Olympics athlete going to Nova Scotia next year as part of the Manitoba team.

And, yes, at 24 now, he speaks:

It was after switching to paint that one of his pieces, a 40-by-60-inch night scene with 35 champion dogs, won best acrylic painting in the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba’s fine art show in Gimli last year.

Baldwin gave a poster of that painting to Wayne Ferguson, president of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, which runs the National Dog Show, who hung it in his den.

Ferguson then commissioned Baldwin to do a painting for the show.

The finished work shows the Philadelphia skyline at night, with 15 previous champion dogs in the foreground.

It appears on the cover of the program, the show’s VIP passes, posters and 8,000 brochures, even on the wrapper of the show’s official chocolate bar.

The painting was unveiled at a special gala for VIPs, including Baldwin and his mom.

“When I was at the show, I looked down at my VIP pass and it had his painting on it, and it dawned on me that everyone around here who was a VIP has his painting around their neck,” Tanis said.

“We’ve worked on his weaknesses and built on his strengths,” Tanis said. “That’s the best you can do with any child,” she added. “I’m really proud of him. He’s worked really hard — he’s had to work harder than anybody … But above all, he has a good heart.”

Almost-mailed puppy up for adoption

So many people have expressed interest in adopting “Guess,” the 5-month-old poodle-schnauzer mix who was almost air-mailed, that the city of Minneapolis plans to hold a drawing to help determine where he will call home.

The drawing will be held around 2 p.m. Friday at the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control shelter, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Ten names will be initially drawn, and assigned a number. Those people will then fill out an application. After screening, the dog will be awarded to the first eligible  person whose name was drawn.

The new owner will be required pay the standard adoption fee, and for a pet license, and sign an agreement to have Guess neutered on “Spay Day” (Feb. 22) before taking him home.

On Jan. 25, Stacey Champion put Guess in a box sealed with packing tape and dropped the package off at a post office near her home, telling postal officials it contained a toy robot. The box was addressed to her 11-year-old son in Georgia, for whom Guess was intended as a birthday gift.

Postal workers opened the box after noticing it was moving and hearing the dog panting.

Champion, 39, has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. She attended an administrative hearing in hopes of getting the dog back but was turned down. On Monday, when she failed to post a bond to pay for Guess’ shelter expenses, she lost any future chance to get the dog back, which would have been a possibility had she been found innocent.

That cleared the way for Guess to be officially put up for adoption.

“We’ve gotten calls from all over the globe,” Jeanette Wiedmeier of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control told Fox News. “311 has taken calls from Europe. They’ve taken emails from people who are outraged and excited about this story, and they want only the best for this dog. We’ve just been overwhelmed with the amount of attention this little six-pound guy has gotten so far.” 

(Photo by Elizabeth Flores / Star-Tribune)

The art of the elephant

Don’t worry. We’re not becoming ohmielephant!, but after your response to Bella the dog and Tarra the elephant, we thought we’d share another amazing elephant story one with you.

This elephant, according to the information posted on YouTube with the video, was rescued from abusive treatment in Burma, and now makes a living as an artist in Thailand.

Her mahout talks to her throughout the process and rewards her with sugar cane and banana as she uses her trunk to paint.

The video was posted on YouTube by Exotic World Gifts, which supports, “Starving Elephant Artisans” by selling their paintings so they can continue to have a new life in Thailand.

“Some Thai elephant experts believe that the survival of the Asian elephant species will most likely depend on the good treatment of the elephants in well managed privately owned elephant camps,” the website says. “All of us would prefer that all of the elephants be free to be in the wild. For many reasons, that is not possible at this time.”

To see more elephant art, and learn more about the program, visit exoticworldgifts.com