Category:  Drawing Traditional Art | Posted: January 21, 2017

Commissioned portratit of a dog


by Barb Baker

Pet Art Contest Contest Winner 
I have a friend that has a dog named Elvis. He is part Schnauzer and part Poodle. My friend asked me to do a portrait of Elvis from a photo that was in the newspaper about him a couple of years ago. I thought that this was a wonderful story and got her permission to share it along with my portrait I gave her of Elvis... Here is the article:" " Dogs possess a keen ability to track a scent. But some events are unexplainable ? suggesting that what happened in this story was not from a scent, but a sense. A kind of ?sixth sense.? That's what some professionals and others are saying about a 21-pound Schnauzer-Poodle mix named Elvis who ran out of a house and traveled miles on his own ? and was spotted days later across the street from the church where his owner's funeral had been held. How the pooch got to that exact location has amazed everyone who has heard about it. ?Animals have a sense not readily available to us,? said veterinarian Dr. Melissa Garner. ?I don't have a scientific explanation. I think it's a sixth or seventh sense. It's something beyond what we can recognize.? Elvis, about 6 years old, was owned by Judy Gustas. She had been battling cancer for the past year, and the dog spent a lot of time in her bed, as if to comfort her. Judy asked her daughter, Gayle Johnson, to take the dog after she died. Gayle declined, noting that she already has three dogs and baby-sits her 2-year-old granddaughter. So a nurse who cared for Judy agreed to take Elvis. After Judy's death on Dec. 22, the nurse took the dog to her home near 23rd and Harrison Streets. That night, he bolted out of the house. Yes, Elvis had left the building. And he couldn't be found. Judy's wake service and funeral were held Dec. 26 and 27 at St. Rose Catholic Church. Gayle thought Elvis by that time either had died from the cold or had been hit by a car. She tried one more thing, a classified ad for three days: LOST: BLACK DOG 23rd and Harrison area Reward On Monday, New Year's Eve, she received a call about 3 p.m. from Bill Beatty, who had seen the ad. He said a little black dog with a blue collar was in front of his house. Yes, Gayle excitedly said, the dog has a blue collar. Where do you live? ?Across the street from St. Rose Church,? he replied. Gayle couldn't believe it. The dog never had been taken to that church or that part of town. It wasn't Judy's church; it was her sister's. Judy's home was seven miles to the west. The nurse's house was two and a half miles to the south. Since Elvis ran out, nine cold nights had passed. ?Maybe Elvis was there during the funeral,? Gayle said later, ?and we just didn't see him.? Bill called for the dog by name, but he ran off. Gayle and her husband, Brian, drove to the neighborhood. They eventually spotted Elvis several blocks north and just west of 13th Street, near Interstate 80. Even after they tossed ham his way and called his name, he wouldn't come to them. They returned the next day, and Gayle laid one of her deceased mother's blankets on a street, 30 or 40 feet from the dog. Though Dr. Garner the dogs vet said it's not possible that Judy's scent had led Elvis to the site of the church ? too much distance, and her body was driven to different places in a hearse ?but the scent of Judy's blanket at close range could work.Gayle kept calling gently. Elvis finally crept over and lay next to her ? on the blanket. He was dirty, greasy and icy cold. Gayle slowly wrapped him in Judy's blanket, took him into the car and held him tightly all the way home. Elvis needed a two-hour professional bathing, scrubbing and tooth-brushing. Gayle's other dogs welcomed him with licks. She has changed her mind ? Elvis will live with her, just as her mother had wanted. Pam Wiese, spokeswoman for the Humane Society said the dog's arrival at the site of his owner's funeral is amazing. ?It's unbelievable,? she said. ?It boggles my mind that some animals have such perceptive abilities.? She noted other stories of dogs traveling great distances to reunite with owners, or dogs that sit at owners' gravesites. Dr. Garner, who has cared for Elvis over the years, along with other veterinarians at the Mobile Animal Clinic, said he has ?a spunky personality.? But how could a spoiled and pampered pooch with no canine ?street smarts? survive nine nights on his own? ?Animals have a remarkable sense of survival,? the vet said. ?They find places to hide out. That being said, nine days on his own takes a lot of stamina.? As for the improbable journey to the street where the funeral had been held, Dr. Garner said the scientist in her says maybe it was mere coincidence. ?The other part of me says maybe he knew she was there,? she said. ?This just reaffirms my belief that there's more out there than we know.? Elvis is no hound dog, but he also never caught a rabbit ? at least not before his nine days on the run. During that time, who knows what he caught to stay alive? Gayle said her mother, who once had owned three dogs and three cats at the same time, loved animals and left 20 percent of her bequests in her will to animal-rights groups. But Judy's fervent last wish was for her daughter to take Elvis in, and Gayle wryly says that her mother, as usual, finally got her way.

Post Type Traditional Art Mixed Media Minor
I used a graphite pencil for the dog and a blue pastel colored pencil for the color.

Pet Art Contest
Contest Winner
Pays one point and 2 member cents.
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