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!
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!
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
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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” – David Viscott
“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
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.
Latest Painting: Oscar the Boxer
Boxers are one of my favorite breeds to paint, so painting this guy was a pleasure. I love his white markings! This painting is 8×10″, acrylic on canvas. RIP handsome Oscar!
I am hard at work on paintings with holiday deadlines! I have lots more work I’ve been waiting to share once the super secret gift exchanging season has passed.
Oscar Before and After:
Here’s Merlyn, a Pomeranian! I’ve been waiting to share this little guy since his painting was a gift for an October wedding. Congrats to your pawrents, Merlyn!
Car ride, car ride, car ride! My massive, shaggy black and tan body fills the backseat. I twirl around clumsily seeking the best view of my impending adventure. I angle my nose though the crack of my passenger side window. A rush of air pushes early summer smells over my tongue and through my leathery black nostrils. My nose drips. Grass allergy. I barely notice. I am questioning what sensations await me.
The vehicle comes to a standstill. Circles. I can’t stop. I am elated. I hear a shrill screech and then realize it is my own voice. The humans are displeased. I can not act like this. It’s not allowed. Their tone is gentle but commanding and I am terribly ashamed but the screeching continues. My smaller, female human opens the driver side door and I hop out, nearly spraining my right hind leg.
The scents from the car window were nothing like this. Meat. I smell meat. And other canines. Pheromones. And humans. Lots of them. Farmer’s Market. I like farms. I like markets. Food. Salivating. I am salivating. Watering at the mouth. Drops of drools splash onto the sidewalk. I can’t stop dribbling. I’ve lost control.
I see so many human feet. And foamy rubber strapped to feet. Smells like my Kong and my Nylabones. I want to chomp into one but I resist. That would not be allowed. I learned that years ago. I see knees. Human knees are so strange. So furless and bony.
Fur. I see fur. My elongated muzzle meets a smooshed dog face. My interest is short-lived. My smelling organ is overstimulated. A small human brushes past my leg. There is something drooping from his fist. Food. It’s food. On a stick. It is level with my gaping mouth. I shouldn’t. I can’t. It smells sweet. Sugary. Salivating. Drooling. My oral cavity opens involuntarily and my long, ruddy tongue whips toward the boy. And the food. Food. Slow motion. My female human has noticed. She tugs my leash toward her body causing my muzzle to detour ever so slightly. The boy pulls the food away and grimaces. Centimeters. Millimeters. So close. My humans are not amused.
Grilled animal flesh aroma meshes with floral scents. People want to pat my head and stroke my soft fur. I let them. I like it. I feel larger than life. I am larger than life. I sit, patiently waiting while my humans purchase vegetables. Unnecessary in my opinion but it seems to excite them.
My tail is two feet long. My humans measured once. When I sit is sticks straight out. This becomes a problem when politely sitting or lying in a crowd. The thin bone under my fuzzy black tail has been crushed by a man’s large shoe more than once. Always a big shoe attached to a heavy body. Never a small one.
I notice a human looking at me. She keeps looking at me. She approaches, excited. She owns a German Shepherd too. Owns. They always say “own”. Her owned canine is large too. Like me. And beautiful. But anxious. Far too nervy to visit the Farmer’s Market. And your dog, she said, is so calm. How she asked, did you manage this? My male human says that I am eight. And that long ago I was downright crazy. Forever chasing ankles and bouncing. I remember bouncing. She accepts this answer, but I believe she knows that I am also just a very, very good dog.
A memory. My first trip to the Farmer’s Market when my age was still measured in months, not years. Every human wanted to stroke me and smell my sweet puppy breath. I couldn’t walk far before my short legs grew tired. We were full of youth, my humans and I. I was their first dog. Their first responsibility. And now they are approaching middle age, and I am, technically, a senior. Sigh.
I am thirsty. A vendor has placed a communal water bowl next to his table. My humans urge me to drink. The liquid is frothy and warm. I stop after a meager slurp. They buy an ice cold, bottled water with a spout that shoots onto my tongue. And I drink. All of it.
We walk. More smells. More fingers stroking my fur, more dogs to sniff, and more food. My humans kindly share bites of their purchases. I savor every bite.
My bladder. Filling. I lift my leg next to a table. Human smiles abruptly changing to concern. Shame. I feel it. My humans feel it.
I am growing tired. My thick fur is no longer weather appropriate. From the corner of my eye a dog approaches. He looks like me. He snaps a shrill warning near my face. A subtle warning that there can be only one beautiful shepherd at this market. I don’t mind. I was just leaving. I balk. A portion of the human crowd has backed away in horror. Dogs make people uneasy. Especially when they snap.
It is time to go. I enter my backseat. It feels warm. Protective. Womb-like. I curl my large body into a semi-circle and lay my head on the armrest between my two humans. And I drool. Again. And the smells drift away as I gravitate toward sleep.
By Vegas Fitzsimmons, German Shepherd, age 10
Vegas hasn’t been to a Farmer’s Market in 2 years. He doesn’t like it so much anymore.