Dog Art by Stephanie Fitzsimmons

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The Color of October

Lena is the color of October leaves. She is my dog, and I just painted her. Her art will be debuting tomorrow at Arb Bark!  Arb Bark is a family fun morning for dogs and their people at the Iowa Arboretum outside of Madrid, Iowa from 10 am to noon!

dog art

Lena’s October painting

Arb Bark

Arb Bark

Hey recent pet adopters!

SPECIAL PROMOTION!! Have you adopted a new pet from a rescue or shelter in 2014?

Order a CUSTOM PAINTING of your new fur kid (or your old furkid), and get a 10% discount. PLUS Woof Factory will donate another 10% to the shelter or rescue your new friend came from! Paintings are on canvas and start at $75 for a 6×6″ painting.

Order here! Use coupon code: ADOPT2014 when you check out! Then send me a few photos of your dog, cat or other pet, your choice of background color, and the name and/or website of the shelter or rescue you adopted from. 

adopt discount

Thanks to all who’ve adopted, fostered, or helped homeless pets! 

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

June is adopt a shelter cat month!

And for a good reason I suppose – one of my local animal shelters, the ARL of Iowa announced last week that they have 317 KITTENS in their care – just kittens, adult cats not included! Go adopt one their many kitties, or send a donation! Or visit your local shelter – chances are good they are also caring for many cats!

cat

The day after adoption day! Getting cozy.

YEAR OF THE CAT! One year ago this week I became a cat adopter myself when a 3 1/2 year old orange polydactyl tiger kitty joined our 3 dog home. I’m not sure if the decision to adopt a cat was impulsive or cautiously planned … I guess it was somewhere in between. After my cat-hating German Shepherd Vegas passed away, I occasionally toyed with the idea of joining the mysterious world of cat companionship. After a month of painting a cat portrait and designing a poster for a cat event, accompanied with the news of a very overpopulated animal  shelter, I caved. I wondered if I was crazy and if my 3 fairly mellow, but large-ish and oh-so carnivorous canines could really handle a meowing addition to their pack.

After reading many, many cat bios (I’d been doing this for some time) I found “Peanut Butter”. The website said he was large, polydactyl (extra toes), and liked dogs, cats and kids. We visited him twice in the homeless cat room at the back of a pet store. Surrounded by many young, energetic cats he dozed peacefully on a fake tree branch. Both times we visited he was asleep, but woke up happy when we interrupted his cat nap to give him a few pets. His previous owner had thoroughly filled out an informational form which was extraordinarily helpful. What is your pet afraid of? Answer: Nothing. Sounded good and has proven to be accurate.

 

johnny gato 114

Fists of Fury!

He was too large for the cardboard cat carrier he was supposed to come with, so he came home in a small to mediumish dog-sized crate. Quickly he made himself at home. We named him Johnny Gato because I thought it sounded cool, and there was already a cat with a blog named Steve McQueen!  Johnny accepted the dogs immediately. One of the dogs ignored him completely and the other two were a little too interested so we made a room into a temporary Catdom so that he could acclimate and the dogs could settle down. Cautiously we introduced them and slowly integrated them together. One received a very minor kitty claw eye poke. Other than that there have been no issues, no chases, and no hissing. I still think I must have been crazy thinking this would work, but, SIGH OF RELIEF, it did!

Johnny Gato, a cat

OMG! I survived 365 days in the dog house!

Johnny Gato gets very annoyed when everyone is outside and he is left meowing at the patio door. He looks at me with angry eyes and throws himself on the ground meowing pathetically. Sometimes I feel like I’m holding him hostage but I want him to be safe! He keeps us entertained with his kittenish antics and huge personality! The dogs once found his gymnast and super-climbing abilities mesmerizing and his litter box treats enticing, but this is all old news now! He likes to be around us, or on us. Or sleeping on our clothes if we’re not available. He even comes when he’s called. Amazing!

Smirking cat with mohawk

Johnny Gato is so punk rawk.

sleeping cat

Johnny Gato is asleep. Finally some peace!

 

Johnny Gato's Sriracha

Johnny Gato’s Sriracha Sauce (illustration by Steph Fitzsimmons)

Johnny Gato's Sriracha Sauce

Johnny Gato’s Sriracha Sauce  (illustration by Steph Fitzsimmons)

cat painting by WOOF Factory

Johnny Gato painting, 6×6″, acrylic on canvas, painting by Steph Fitzsimmons 

Colored pencil cat drawing

Johnny Gato colored pencil & ink drawing by Steph Fitzsimmons

 

Help Memphis Live Pain Free!

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SPECIAL FUNDRAISER ALERT! FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, WOOF FACTORY WILL DONATE 20% OF ALL PAINTING ORDERS TO HELP MEMPHIS LIVE PAIN FREE!

THE BACK STORY: In 2002 I adopted Takoda, a husky with a broken leg. The vets said she’d always have leg issues, but she healed & became an energetic happy dog who would run for miles. Later in life she had a leg amputated due to osteosarcoma but she never lost her spunk! Because of Takoda, there is an extra extra special place in my heart for dogs with leg issues & this little husky Memphis makes my heart all mushy. 

Watch his video & tell me he doesn’t do the same to you! 

In addition to ordering a painting, you can also donate directly to Memphis … and if you don’t have any money to spend please share this link with your dog-loving friends!

New Stuff

2013 WOOF Factory paintings so far …

dog art painting

Pookie, 8×10

bulldog art

Bulldog, 30×24  ON DISPLAY AT  CANINE CRAZE!

pit bull art

Crazy Tongue Pit Bull, 10×8

Beagle art

Crazy Tongue Beagle, 10×8

pit bull dog art

Trix, 10×8

Black German Shepherd, 10x20

Black German Shepherd, 10×20 ON DISPLAY AT CANINE CRAZE!

dog art

Izzy, 11×14

Baby dog art

Baby, 10×8

golden retriever art

Sammy, 10×8

beagle art

Diggy, 10×8

german shepherd art

Meiko, 10×8

golden retriever art

Simba, 8×10

husky painting

Rio, 6×6

Can you paint my dog? Yes, I can! Here’s how>

WOOF Factory has gone BANDANAS!

dog bandanas

WOOF Factory is now making bandanas!

We are now making totally handmade dog bandanas! We handpicked these cute fabrics and my husband sewed them. There are 3 designs, each named after one of our dogs. The Loki, The Lena, and the Duke. “The Lena” looks like little Lenas, with her white muzzle, tan fur, and little helicopter ears. “The Duke” is reversible: blue on one side and brown on the other, just like his eyes. “The Loki” is expressive, with lots of dogs phrases, just like her (Miss Barks-a-lot)!

They will fit a medium to large size dog. Thick, double-sized flannel. The Duke is reversible. And the best part: $2 of every bandana purchased will be donated to Taysia Blue Husky Rescue!

NOW available in my Etsy Shop: Get ’em here

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WOOF Factory art at Sanford Museum

My art is hanging on Sanford Museum & Planetarium‘s art wall through the end of February. Thank you Sanford Museum for this awesome opportunity!

Sanford Museum WOOF Factory art display

 

Sanford Museum WOOF Factory art display

Sanford Museum art display

Weimaraner Painting

Here’s one of my most recent dog paintings, Bruno!

Bruno is wearing eyeglasses and relaxing. The way cool dogs do.

Weimaraner Painting

Bruno the Weimaraner Painting Before and After

Weimaraner Dog Painting

Weimaraner Dog Painting by Steph Fitzsimmons

Bruno was my third Weimaraner Painting. Here 2 more Weims I’ve painted>

WOOF Factory Dog Art wishes you a wonderful 2013

Happy New Year from WOOF Factory Dog Art!

I spent New Year’s Eve with my dogs and my husband relaxing at home with TV and snacks. The dogs enjoyed Kongs stuffed with Little Smokies – an extra special once a year treat! So much for seeing in the new year though, they were all crashed by 7:30!

WOOF Factory dog art mascot Loki

WOOF Factory Dog Art mascot Loki ready to pawty. (Nobody else wanted to wear the “Happy New Year” hat.)

Here’s a quick recap of  dog art accomplishments in 2012:

  • Finished 33+ (plus because I might be forgetting some!) dog paintings in 2012, in addition to several pencil sketches, ink drawings, and watercolor.
  • Started selling dog art prints, iPhone cases & stationery on Society 6
  • Added more prints and original art to the WOOF Factory Dog Art Etsy shop
dog paintings 2012

WOOF Factory Dog Paintings from the last 12-13 months

Thanks to everybody who let me paint a dog for you in 2012! May 2013 bring peace, love and joy to you and your dog(s)!

A Tribute to a Very Good Dog.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF VEGAS, 3.23.02 to 12.12.12

Sometimes a little thing reroutes the path of your life and you are forever changed. For me, that little thing was a puppy.

1st Car Ride
Everything about the way we met was wrong. I was 30. I hadn’t had a dog in my life since I was 13-years-old and I wanted one desperately. My husband and I were on week 2 of a cross-country road trip with no intentions of picking up a dog along the way. We’d spent time mostly in Colorado and California hiking and swimming in the ocean and it seemed like dogs were everywhere. We went into an exotic pet shop in Las Vegas to gawk at the freak show of reptiles, monkeys and pot-bellied pigs, and there he was. We left the store and I tried to forget him but for the next 2 days the bright lights and excitement of Vegas paled in comparison to the thoughts of the furry little nut barking loudly in his sister’s ear in a too small cage in the back of the shop.

I knew it was crazy but I wanted to make the little furball mine. The sign on the cage said “german shepherd mixes $250”. We inquired about buying a puppy to find out they hadn’t had their necessary shots and they couldn’t be sold until the next week. We weren’t going to be there that long. At this point we were already emotionally invested and felt sad. We left but they took our phone number. Soon thereafter the store manager called and said, to our shock, that they couldn’t legally sell the puppies but he could give him to us for free. I know! Weird.

So needless to say we jumped on that offer before the guy changed his mind. They said we could have his sister too. We declined. I have always wondered what happened to her, and if she was ok. At the time I didn’t know if I could handle 1 puppy. Heck I didn’t even know if a German Shepherd-ish could really live happily in a house. All the Shepherds I’d known had lived outside, at least part of the time. His sister was anxious and had bit an employee’s mother in the ear. I wasn’t sure I could handle that, and I wasn’t sure if she liked her brother, she seemed annoyed by his noisy barking and ridiculous antics. We left the store with a small bag of puppy food and a furry 12-week old beast of a puppy. Next stop was Petsmart for supplies and a “Raising Your German Shepherd Puppy” book. We loaded him into the backseat of the car where he immediately pooped and peed as we zoomed off into our new life. We named him Vegas.

Right or Wrong

 

We took a puppy class and he towered over his malamute and border collie classmates. People said his feet were huge. When he was four months old he was full-grown dog size. I think some people thought he WAS a full-grown dog, and that his crazy puppy behavior was rude.

When we got him, he was scared of grass and bikes and big dogs and he hated the hot of the summer but he was brave and a fast learner and quickly accepted all these unfamiliar things.

His next big trip as a puppy was to a cabin in Wisconsin, where he immediately jumped fearlessly off the dock into the lake, to the shock of my brother who at that very moment was telling me how proud he was of his lab mix, who he had just convinced to jump into the lake after 3 years of encouragement. That was Vegas.

you can do anything

favorite puppy pics

paper

 

Vegas 2002

And he grew up to be an awesome, beautiful best friend. February 2004

When he grew all the way up, he stood over 6 feet tall. His tail was 24 inches long. His paws remained huge. He looked like a Great Dane shoved into a German Shepherd suit that was a little tight. He was a thin and lanky 115 pounds. A walk around the neighborhood would literally stop traffic. We got asked if he was a police dog. Once a guy said “Now that’s The Real McCoy”. At least one person who passed us frequently while we took our nightly walked went out and got his own German Shepherd puppy because he thought Vegas was so amazing. For years following he would stop and give us updates on his new dog.

Vegas was a “gentle giant” and at least a few times I had the pleasure of seeing a person fearful of dogs pet this big dog and conquer some of their apprehensions. 

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” – David Viscott

goodboy

play

Some photos from 2005. 

“I talk to him when I’m lonesome like, and I’m sure he understands.
When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands;
Then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught threat;
For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that!”

– W. Dayton Wedgefarth

 

bossypants

 

12 muddy paws

snow
balls
exploring

puppies

swimfailures

 

 

 

 

 

 

lastweeks
I don’t have enough words to express how much we’ll miss our boy. He was a once in a lifetime kind of a dog. He brought lots of love, and people, and dogs into my life. It’s hard to believe there will be no more photos and no more soft kisses. He was a faithful, loving and loyal friend for ten and a half years.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Cancer sucks. Vegas fought it like the brave dog he was. He was helped over the Bridge with his big head in my arms on December 12, 2012. 3 months short of his 11th birthday.

“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” – Hilary Stanton Zunin

I’m glad I took that risk. I love you Vegas.

 

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