Friday, May 7, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words: a new pet portrait by Terry Albert

This week I finished a new pet portrait of Maddie and Butch, owned by my friends John and Janet. Over 10 years ago I did a painting of their first two labs, Sarah and Jack, and the two portraits will hang together in their home.

We volunteered together at Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue, and Janet was always taking in mixed breeds, a crime I was also guilty of. So all of these lovely un-Labradors are dogs that they adopted over the years.

I’ll let John tell the story of their beloved dogs:
Sarah, on the left, came to us in 1996 via the Huntington Beach animal shelter. We have no idea of her background, but soon were introduced to her ability to spontaneously urinate when happy. We managed this through out her life with us. She was 2 when found and lived for another 14+ years. We got Sarah to be Jack's buddy.
Jack, on the right, was about 6 in 1995 when we rescued him from the same shelter in H.B. He was found tied to a tree in a Westminster, CA park without food or water. He'd been there for a couple of days before someone finally called on him.  Later, the guy who abandoned him was identified and arrested for heroin influence. Jack was love at first sight.  He became the namesake for our sailboat, Jack's Place. However, he never adjusted to being on the water.
The second generation
Maddie is now around 11 or 12 and was trapped in an open field in Riverside County by an animal rescue group. She was about 5 then. She'd been under observation for several months as running wild after having a litter of 9 pups. She was very skittish and fearful, especially of men. Once trapped, she was kenneled for nearly a year when found by Janet's All Retriever Rescue Foundation, (a group I, Terry, especially like because they don’t limit themselves to purebreds). Maddie was later adopted by one of the volunteers but had to be re-located because she was a chronic fence jumper. We brought her home after I increased the height of the backyard fence. It took about three weeks to get her comfortable with being around her new family.  
I saw a lot of potential in Maddie, so we decided to send her off for some professional training. We found a training place in Corona (http://www.assertivek-9training.com) and after 7 weeks, Maddie was a new pooch. They turned her into a push-button companion, although, still skittish.  
Maddie enjoys life best when in our company. She thrived on the water and was later designated "B.D."; short for Boat Dog. Maddie is mostly chow with a little lab added for pleasure.
Finally, Butch is now about 17. Janet's sister works for L.A.P.D. and arrested Butch's owner for heroin influence. He no longer wanted his dog, so she called Janet to see if we would take him. We did and Butch has proven himself an incredible member of our family. A vet found that Butch had been hit by a car. His left hip was broken and allowed to heal without being treated by a vet. We had surgery done to correct some of the side-affects, but he never was fully functional. Butch is a lab/dalmatian mix.

A great Butch story happened one night around 10:00. Janet heard the back sliding glass door open and thought it was our daughter Andrea coming home from the neighbor's. Janet yelled out if that was her and Andrea replied she was in her room. Simultaneously, Butch began growling and ran down the hallway.  
Apparently, some guy was watching Andrea through her window and came in to the house to do bad things. Butch nailed him while crashing in to some patio furniture. The suspect was last seen vaulting our rear fence. Butch came back inside with his smile beaming, just like you captured in his portrait, Terry.
I'll tell ya, Terry, writing about these wonderful dogs brings forth a lot of emotion. They have been incredible.
John

There’s not much I can add to that. I’m honored I got to paint pictures of such special dogs. Now that you've read about the dogs, read about the painting on the Canine Art Guild blog.


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