Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moppet, A Gratitude Painting ~~ Painting a Dog a Day by Kimberly Kelly Santini

"Moppet," from The Gratitude Project, companion piece to yesterday's portrait of "Dixie," 6" square, commissioned portrait of a rescued Yorkshire Terrier, done in Golden Open Acrylics on gessobord, private collection (THANK YOU!!). As with all the paintings in "The Gratitude Project," proceeds from the sale of Moppet's portrait will benefit Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue.

Both Moppet and Dixie were understandably terrified of the camera (did you read their story?), so there was some coaching and training that went on behind the scenes. The idea was to gradually desensitize the dogs' to the camera and reinforce their newfound trust in their caregivers.

Their Mom began by associating the camera with treats - a smidge of peanut butter or a morsel of chicken, along with lots of petting and kind words. No picture taking, just nosing around the camera, smelling good things, and getting loved on.

Once they were comfortable with it, a (spare) camera got tucked into their bed and left around where they could comfortably co-exist. Moppet and Dixie became used to seeing and smelling it, just like any other household object.

And they began to look forward to the camera getting picked up, because guess what? they got treats and love when that camera was being waved in the air!

After several months, photo sessions ensued with the flash off (did you know that flashbulbs scare many animals?) and lots more treats and kind words.

And I had the references I needed to build their portraits and share their stories!

Do you have a rescued dog? share her story with me - you might just see a familiar face show up in your email one day.......

Thanks for sharing my artwork with your friends and family,
Kim
Spread the Love - Volunteer!!

Many Dog a Day fans are actively involved in promoting animal welfare. It's easier than you think, too:

  • A quick Google search will locate rescues and shelters in your area. Many have basic needs such as old household linens, cleaning supplies, and newspaper - things you might already be throwing out
  • Consider fostering a homeless animal - in some cases, food and veterinary care is included - talk to your shelter or local rescue group for details on how they arrange fosters (NOTE: my shelter always needs foster homes for momma cats so that kittens can be born in a family friendly environment)
  • Have computer skills? help a rescue design flyers or even assist with their web site, all from the comfort of your own home
  • Offer to walk a neighbor's dog. No neighbors? then hit up your shelter and walk some of theirs
  • Coordinate a neighborhood poop scoop of easements and other spaces
  • Host a pot-luck picnic where attendees bring a dish to pass and a donation for your local shelter/rescue
  • Set up a lemonade stand with proceeds going to your local shelter

When our children see us acting with compassion, it becomes second nature to them.

And everybody, including our companion animals, wins!

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