By STACY KRAFCZYK

Animals are like us in so many ways that sometimes we forget or don’t realize that what we do for ourselves we can also do for them. For instance your dog may benefit from the following: massages, chiropractic, acupuncture, crystals, hydrotherapy, laser therapy, Reiki and more.

Animal communication is a great “tool” to use to find out if your animal is happy, sad, in pain, etc. But it’s also important to use other tools. It is necessary to take your animals to the vet for health checks and various treatments. Or for example, dog trainers for proper training. And it is also important to see practitioners who specialize in holistic animal care—Chinese and western medicines are a great combination.

For example, if your animal doesn’t feel well, is lethargic or not eating and looks like it is suffering, then a vet would be your first call. Your second call should perhaps be an animal communicator.

Animal communication can definitely improve behavioral issues, walking on a leash, and other issues. However, training is still necessary to build ones confidence with their dog so they learn to speak the same language and not send mixed messages. As humans we tend to send mixed messages to our animals, telepathically and verbally. In our minds we say, “don’t bite, don’t bark, don’t jump” but in our minds we’re showing them barking, biting and jumping. Training is a great way to send the right signals, deepening the bond and strengthening our confidence.

A few tools:

Chiropractic/Spinal Manipulation. Animals get thrown out of whack all the time, just like humans do, and strongly benefit from adjustments to realign their body which also affects their health, energy and emotions.

Essential Oils. Get ones that are all-natural (not chemical or fragrance grade) and good quality to diffuse in your room or car, especially after a stressful event like surgery. This can aid in calming your furry friend.

Massage. Getting your animal massaged will keep your animals limber, energetic and bring relief especially if there is already an issue at hand.

Reiki. A form of energy work done in person or from a distance can help heal the animal emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Reiki has been an amazing part of my healing journey personally and professionally with hundreds of animals.

Food. Raw food, high-quality canned or dry food, grain-free, etc., can also assist your animals in healing and reducing ear infections, UTIs, yeast, diabetes and other illnesses or diseases. I’ve personally witnessed miraculous transformations with changing of the diet alone. Contact your local pet food store for holistic options.

Cold Laser Therapy. This is done by certified professionals to accelerate healing safely and effectively.

Pain Medicine. Whether it is holistic, natural, Chinese herbs and/or western meds…it is VERY important to help maintain your animal’s pain in old age, as well as his diseases or illnesses. One of the main complaints from animals is their pain level. Remember, it is an animal’s instinct and nature to hide or disguise his pain. If they were in the wild, they may be killed or forced out of their pack so they tend to hide their discomfort until it becomes so unbearable they begin to show signs like not eating, limping, excessive licking or sudden behavioral changes like aggressiveness, not sleeping well, pacing and digging at the carpet. Please talk to your vet about pain medicine and/or natural remedies from holistic pet food stores.

Sleep. This is important to people for recharging and healing their bodies and is the same for animals. It is challenging for animals to heal and recharge if they’re in pain. A lot of animals have shared in animal communication sessions that they would like some pain management around breakfast, dinner and most importantly, bedtime. Our animal friends will sleep better and so will their humans.

There are many avenues you can explore to help heal your animals emotionally and physically. You may need to use several different healing modalities continually until the pain begins to diminish or is at least under control.

Talk to your vet about some of these options and if your vet doesn’t know about these, then do your own research. Go in chat rooms, Facebook groups, and on other websites to find the right answers for your animals. The Internet is awesome for finding out information.

By STACY KRAFCZYK

I was raised with non-denominational beliefs, and I really didn’t have an understanding of reincarnation growing up. It wasn’t until I started this career path as an animal communicator that I started to see that many animals were returning to their humans but in different forms.

Please don’t feel obligated to believe in reincarnation. But I ask that while reading this you keep an open mind. It may resonate with you or even validate something you have felt before. Sometimes just passing the information on to another can be the purpose you read this as it may resonate with another.

So let’s define reincarnation. Reincarnation is when an animal’s soul returns back to the earth but in a different body in order to continue their soul’s growth and journey. The soul goes from body to body learning different lessons and helping others. My own experience is that the soul may come back as a male or female, same breed or different breed or different species altogether. It does not have to be the same gender, but the animal may chose to come back as the same gender. Each reincarnation experience is unique in its own way.

Some clients are completely open to the idea of having an animal companion possibly return to them at a different time. Some clients request in sessions that they would like their animal to return, and some don’t believe in reincarnation at all. If I receive a message from their fur baby that they’re coming back, I just ask their humans to be open to the possibility. What is the harm of being open to the idea that your beloved animal may want to reunite with you again?

Other animals may have had a tough life in their physical body and may choose to be of assistance from the spirit plane. A rare few have said they were coming back to their humans but then sent a new animal soul to aid in the healing process—either resolving an old issue or helping the new animals soul grow and prosper. Penelope Smith, the founder and “grandmother” of animal communication, wrote an amazing book all about animals and reincarnation called “Animals in Spirit.” This is a great place to start.

A wonderful client from Minnesota lost her 13-year-old dog and dear friend. Prior to passing, the dog said he would return to her in a rescue but didn’t say when. She let that thought go because she didn’t necessarily believe in reincarnation either but loved her dog and did want him to come back. One day she felt drawn to go online to look at her local shelter for a dog. A rescue with similar colors as her previous pooch drew her in, but it was his eyes that spoke to her. She knew right away she had to go see him. She called the shelter and said to “hold that dog” and drove there. When she arrived at the shelter, a worker brought in the dog and he came running to her, knocking her over and kissing her face like her absent dog used to.

The kicker of the story is that her parents noticed the resemblance of the dog’s behavior to the previous dog as well. They started to call the new dog “bizarro dog” because he would sleep where the old dog slept, even though the old dog bed was no longer there. Eventually they did put a new one there because the dog wouldn’t lay anywhere else. The dog also started following the dad down the driveway when he left for work, which the old dog did too.

Another client’s dog came back very quickly in the form of a male puppy (instead of a female). The client blew off the dog’s message when it came through at first. The new pup had the exact same characteristics of the previous dog, same mannerisms, never had any potty accidents and was way too smart to know so much already at such a young age. The owner eventually admitted that she finally “knew” it was her previous pooch with tears in her eyes and crackling in her voice.

Other animals have come through of whom I have never met with very powerful validations of their previous lives such as quirky behaviors they used to do, what their humans did with their silky, soft ears and what it was like in their previous canine body.

It still continues to blow my mind after all these years of animal communication sessions. The stories and affirmations are so profound. There are so many beautiful stories to share. Keep in mind that an animal’s love remains the same even if they chose not to return. Be open to the idea that your beloved pup wants to return. And perhaps this is the validation you needed to confirm to you that one of your dogs was once a previous pup you had before. There’s no harm in an animal reincarnating. There’s only love. Only the love between a dog and their human.

By MANETTE KOHLER, DVM

In 1845, the construction of a road from Milwaukee to Fond du Lac was authorized. The half-way point was a rest stop for travelers and what is now the city of West Bend. Incorporated in 1885, West Bend was attractive to settlers, in part, because of the Milwaukee River that ran through it that was used to produce energy for power. West Bend is now a thriving community bustling with events and attractions for its residents and visitors alike. Every season features new activities and attractions.

But wait, this is supposed to be a column highlighting interesting stories about dogs, isn’t it? This brings us to Maggie, one of West Bend’s four-legged residents and the Customer Sales Representative for Schalla Jewelers, one of the many Historic Downtown specialty shops. Maggie is a 7-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, who belongs to Douglas Schalla, the owner of the jewelry store. He’s been bringing Maggie to the store since he got her at seven weeks of age, and his customers are drawn in not just by the pretty jewelry but by Maggie’s inviting face in the front window. In fact, she gets more visitors than Douglas does but he’s okay with that. “It puts many people at ease when they see a dog here,” says Schalla. Maggie even gets quite a lion’s share of Christmas presents from customers and visitors. She’s perfect for her role as Customer Sales Representative. “She’s good-natured, smart, loves everyone and loves hanging out at the store,” adds Schalla.

Official greeter is one of her very important responsibilities and she takes this role seriously, politely greeting customers as they come through the door, expecting only a kind word or two and a pet in return. One of her favorite visitors is the FedEx delivery man who predictably supplies her with tasty morsels. Nothing gets past Maggie’s nose, and she’s been known to sniff out treats in customers’ pockets, some of which they share with her if Dad deems them safe. When not performing her “Greeter” duties, she loves to exercise by running around the jewelry cases or by sitting in the front windows watching passersby. When the afternoon sun starts to stream through the front windows, Maggie channels her inner cat and lounges in the sunbeams.

Prior to learning about Schalla Jeweler’s canine greeting committee, I hadn’t had the opportunity to spend time in West Best and was very surprised to learn of all that the West Bend area has to offer. As my daughter and I visited with Maggie, Douglas shared with us some of the highlights of the area including the massive Farmer’s Market that is held on Saturdays from May to October in the heart of downtown West Bend and the 25-mile Eisenbahn State Trail where Maggie and Douglas love to hike and enjoy nature. Other area attractions include the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and Ridge Run Park, an area made up of steep ridges and valleys sculpted by glaciers, and featuring hiking, fishing, ice skating, a lighted sledding hill and ski trails. Outdoor attractions aren’t all the area has to offer. West Bend boasts a nice assortment of museums and a thriving arts community with entertainment ranging from a symphony orchestra to Broadway musicals, not to mention the wide variety of shops and eateries.

When not working, Maggie loves to run on the 68 acres at home while Douglas drives his ATV around the property. There are great smells everywhere that are thoroughly appreciated by Maggie, true to her German Shorthaired Pointer heritage, and she enthusiastically enjoys tracking critters and stalking rabbits. She is trained to hunt game birds and, when they have time, Maggie and Douglas do some hunting.

If you find yourself in West Bend to enjoy all that it has to offer, be sure to stop by Schalla Jewelers at 235 S. Main Street to say hello to Maggie and Douglas and peruse the wide assortment of jewelry. It’ll be the shop with Maggie’s pretty face in the window.

By CHERESE COBB

Who can resist a dog’s charms? Not you, not me, not even these five famous artists—whose mutt muses sniffed their way into some of their owners’ most iconic pieces.

Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Small Monkey

On September 17, 1925, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who was already making plans to attend medical school, and her boyfriend Alejandro Gómez Arias were riding in a school bus that collided with a street car. Frida said that a “handrail pierced me the way a sword pierces a bull,” entering through her left hip and exiting through her genitals. Her spinal column and pelvis were each broken in three places. She also broke her collarbone and suffered two broken ribs. Her right leg, the one deformed by polio, was shattered, fractured in 11 places, and her right foot was dislocated and completely crushed.

Although she recovered from her injuries—after three months in a full body cast—she suffered from infertility so she adopted several pets and treated them like her surrogate children. Her favorites were a spider monkey named Fulang Chang and a hairless Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-loh-eets-KWEENT-lee) named Mr. Xoloti, both of which she features in this work. Out of her 143 paintings, 55 of them were self-portraits, featuring her treasured furbabies and incorporating her monobrow, faint mustache, dark braids, bright flowers, corset-style shirts, and long skirts.

Charles Schulz and Snoopy

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz’s childhood dog—a black and white pointer named Spike, who would later serve as the inspiration for Snoopy—could understand 50 English words and had a habit of eating pins, tacks, and razor blades whole. He was the subject of “Sparky’s” first published cartoon, which the 15-year-old sent to Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Snoopy, whose name was suggested by Schulz’s mother, didn’t appear in the first Li’l Folks comic strip, which ran on October 2, 1950. Instead, he trotted through several strips later with a flower that appeared to be growing out of his head. He also walked on all-fours and enjoyed playing ball, chasing sticks, and listening intently to his owner, Charlie Brown. By the mid-1950s, Schulz began to humanize Snoopy—subtly, at first—by introducing thought bubbles. By the early ’60s, he stood up and had more expressive and whimsical features. He was such a phenomenon by the late ’60s that he didn’t need Charlie Brown. “Snoopy doesn’t even know Charlie Brown’s name in most instances,” says Corry Kanzenberg, Curator of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. “He just calls him ‘the round-headed kid.” Snoopy also became the only character that had a fully illustrated inner life: he had at least 100 different personas, from Joe Cool to the WWI Flying Ace.

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s A Friend in Need

In 1903, painter Cassius Marcellus Coolidge started working for the “remembrance advertising” company Brown & Bigelow. He churned out a set of 16 oil paintings, depicting dogs testifying in court, pushing a broken-down car, and wielding a baseball bat. His most famous painting from the series, A Friend in Need, shows seven dogs sitting around a table playing poker until the wee hours of the morning. Often misnamed as Dogs Playing Poker, its title comes from the bulldog handing an ace under the table to his friend.

Reprinted as posters, calendars, and prints by cigar companies, Coolidge’s paintings were considered the epitome of lowbrow culture. While his own obituary described his greatest artistic accomplishment as having “painted many pictures of dogs,” he’s also invented photo stand-ins: old-fashioned carnival attractions where tourists stick their heads on top of cartoon figures.

Pablo Picasso’s Dog

On April 19, 1957, American photographer David Douglas Duncan brought his Dachshund named Lump, who didn’t get along with his Afghan Hound named Kublai Khan, to Pablo Picasso’s villa in the South of France. The Doxie immediately walked up to the Spanish painter and put his paws on him. Picasso looked down and said, “Buenos dias, amigo!” Then Lump leaped into his arms and gave him a kiss. A mutual love affair began. “He more or less said, ‘I’m staying here.’ And he did, for the next six years,” Duncan recalled in an interview on a visit to Paris.

Picasso described Lump—which means “rascal” in German—as indescribable: “Lump, he’s not a dog, he’s not a little man, he’s somebody else.” He also honored him by including him in several sketches and more than 40 paintings, which were based on Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas. Lump, who was suffering from a spinal problem common to his breed, passed away ten days before Picasso, on March 29, 1973.

Edvard Munch’s Dog’s Face

Edvard Munch is famous today as the creator of a single image, The Scream. His painting of a sexless, twisted, fetal-faced creature with mouth and eyes open wide in a shriek of horror captured the illness, madness and death that accompanied him throughout his life. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was 5, an older sister 10 years later, another sister went mad, his father and a brother died before he was 30, and the artist himself had a severe nervous breakdown when he was 45. He also struggled with alcoholism and bipolar disorder with psychosis, which lead up to him shooting two joints off his left hand’s ring finger.

In his later years, Munch, who never married, withdrew from society, living alone without servants or housekeepers. Only his dog Fips, who had “an old sage’s soul living inside of him,” kept him company while he devoted his time to his paintings, which he sometimes referred to as his children. Munch even took his dog to Roede’s cinema, where they watched Charlie Chaplin’s films together. If Fips no longer enjoyed the film, he would start barking and they would immediately leave the show.

Who is the woman behind Lost & Hound?

Britney Kruesel is the girl behind Lost & Hound! I have two dogs, Bella, a 3lb Chihuahua and Milo, an always hungry Beagle. Aside from helping other rescue dogs, my dogs were truly the inspiration behind the brand. I work full time for the Wisconsin Humane Society as the youth programs specialist, coordinating programs designed to increase empathy toward animals and impact children and their community in a positive way. After a full days work at the shelter, I come home, take my dogs for a walk, make dinner and then spend another 4-6 hours cultivating new ideas for Lost & Hound, fulfilling orders and making updates to my website, www.lostandhoundmke.com. I usually fall asleep with my laptop on my lap!

How much time do you devote to volunteering?

Before I began working full time at an animal rescue, I volunteered as part of an internship at the Coulee Region Humane Society in Onalaska, socializing dogs and assisting with the pet therapy and youth programs. I have fostered a handful of dogs as well as helped assist families in finding their perfect match. In 2016, Milo and I became a registered pet therapy team through Health Heelers/Pet Partners as a way for us to strengthen our bond, but also as a way for him to share his sweet old soul with those who may benefit from the therapeutic companionship of a dog. Milo and I are lucky enough to spend a couple evenings a month volunteering at memory loss facilities and other youth programs around the city.

How many dogs have received toys to help them transition?

Just under 1,000 and counting (thanks to our loyal customers!).

What’s new?

I’m always looking for new patterns for our bandanas and bow ties. I am also looking into the possibility of a new style leash, collar, additional toys, as well as fun new human goods for those who don’t have a pet but would like to support Lost & Hound’s mission.

We have a few events lined up. Barktoberfest, Fromm Fest and Brady Street Pet Parade to mention a few. We hope to see you there!

If you had to sum up your photography/art in one word … what would it be?

Mindful

Anything else you would like to share?

Our Lost & Hound bandanas can also currently be found in three Milwaukee stores, LOCALmke, MilwaukeeHome and URSA, with additional partnerships brewing as we speak.

Follow along for more updates and announcements on Instagram or Facebook: @lostandhoundmke!

By KERRI WIEDMEYER, DVM, WVRC

Bloated may be how we all feel after a nice holiday meal, but Bloat in a dog is a very different kind of bloat. Bloat, otherwise known as gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), is a very serious condition that occurs when the stomach fills with gas and then rotates, causing further distension and a series of severe complications.

How Do Dogs Get Bloat?

That is the million-dollar question. No one knows the exact cause of bloat; however large breed, deep-chested dogs are more likely to bloat than other breeds. Older dogs are also more commonly seen with bloat than younger dogs. In some cases, eating or drinking large amounts and then being active is thought to cause bloat. There is also thought that eating out of elevated food dishes may increase chances of bloat as dogs may swallow more air when eating.

Unfortunately, there are many times when dogs present with bloat with no predisposing cause; and, although it is much less common, small breed dogs can bloat.

What Does Bloat Look Like?

Dogs with bloat can be restless and unable to get comfortable or lay down. They will hypersalivate/drool and try to vomit, but nothing will come out. They can have very distended abdomens that can be very painful. They may also have very fast heart rates and changes in breathing. In severe cases, they may collapse or be unable to stand. It is very important that if you see any of these signs that you have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. As veterinarians, we understand that each dog can show different variations of these signs; if there is any concern, an owner can always call a veterinary clinic and ask their opinion.

Why is Bloat an Emergency?

Bloat sets off a cascade of damaging events to the body. As the stomach fills with air, it expands and starts to cut off blood returning to the heart. The expansion of the stomach then puts pressure on the diaphragm, making it difficult for the dog to breath. The stomach then starts to rotate, cutting off the blood supply to the stomach. When the stomach rotates, it can entrap the spleen and thus cause damage or cut off blood supply to the spleen and even rupture blood vessels. All of these changes lead to the dog going into shock. Blood pressure drops, arrhythmias and internal bleeding can occur as well as sepsis. Unfortunately, death can occur in a matter of hours if bloat goes undetected and untreated.

All of these changes happen very quickly, which is why it is so important for an owner to recognize the signs of bloat and get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

How do you Treat Bloat?

Unfortunately, there is nothing that an owner can do at home. It is imperative that the dog gets to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Typically, a radiograph will be performed to diagnose a GDV. These dogs then require pain medication, intravenous fluids and emergency surgery immediately. The surgery consists of de-rotating the stomach back to its normal position and then tacking it to the body wall. This is called a gastropexy. If the spleen was involved in the twisting, then it may have to be removed as well. Even after the surgery is performed, these dogs are not out of the woods. There are many complications that can still arise after surgery and it is very common for these dogs to be in the hospital for multiple days. As many as 15 to 30 percent of dogs will not survive bloat even with immediate care and surgery.

Preventing Bloat

Today many people are putting their minds at ease early on by getting prophylactic treatment done. If you own a large breed dog that is more likely to bloat, a gastropexy can be performed when the dog is spayed or neutered.

This procedure will not prevent the stomach from distending with gas, but it will prevent the stomach from twisting/ rotating. The “twisting” is what makes a GDV a surgical emergency. Preventing this by tacking the stomach at an early age will likely save an owner from some sleepless nights and an expensive emergency surgery.

Other considerations to try and prevent bloat are feeding several small meals a day, discouraging drinking large amounts of water at one time, allowing some time between eating and activity, and feeding on the floor.

Hopefully knowing some of these preventative tips will decrease the chances of your furry family member bloating; however, if you see the signs listed above do not wait! Get that loved one to a veterinarian.

By MEGAN TREMELLING, DVM, LVS

In January, someone tried to take a peacock on a United Airlines flight, claiming it was an emotional support animal (ESA). Last June, a 50-pound dog that was traveling on Delta as an ESA badly mauled the face of another passenger. So much for the friendly skies.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not opposed to the idea of ESAs. Animals can be an incredible balm to the human psyche even when it is in perfect working order. Mental health is extremely complex, and if somebody needs their dog with them to be able to manage, I’m not going to criticize. Fortunately, the TSA views ESAs as aids that allow people to live their lives, going a step beyond the job of “pet,” and so ESAs are allowed in airports and airplanes. Traveling with a disability can be challenging enough without the airlines placing undue burdens on the people who need these animals to get by.

On the other hand, when an airplane cabin starts to resemble a petting zoo, and passengers are being taken away by ambulance, clearly there is a flaw with the system. A big part of the problem, of course, is the irritating phenomenon of people pretending their dogs are ESAs, or even service animals, when they really aren’t.

Why would someone pretend to have an ESA or service dog, instead of admitting that their dog is a pet? For one thing, traveling with a pet can be challenging. People are understandably wary of putting their pets in cargo, given some tragedies that have occurred there. Whether in cargo or in the cabin, there are fees to be paid, and the airline may turn your pet away if there are already too many animals on the flight. ESAs and service dogs, however, sometimes travel for free, and are more likely to be accommodated in the cabin regardless of the number of animals on the airplane or the size and weight of the dog.

This does not change the fact that pretending your pet is an ESA is clearly unethical in all cases, and is criminal in some areas. There is quite simply a limit to the number of animals that can fit on a given airplane before things get disruptive. Like disabled parking permits, those spaces should be reserved for people who actually need them.

In an attempt to reduce abuse of the system, some airlines have begun to use more stringent restrictions on ESAs. Delta, for example, has quite an extensive list of animal species that are not permitted on board. United now requires customers with ESAs to bring “a veterinary health form documenting the health and vaccination records for the animal as well as confirming that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting.”

Owners are notoriously bad at assessing their own animals’ behavior, so I can see why the airlines want to get a third party to vouch for the dog, but many veterinarians are wary of going on record stating that their patients have been trained to behave properly. For one thing, even a dog that is well-mannered under ordinary circumstances may find the conditions on an airplane to be a little much. Let’s face it, after standing in line at security, navigating the hubbub of the airport, and then getting squeezed for hours into a cramped space that makes deafening noises and ear-popping pressure changes, even the humans are just about ready to bite somebody. There is no way that I or any other veterinarian can tell whether a dog that behaves nicely in the clinic will continue to do so in flight.

People who genuinely need ESAs will be the ones to suffer if they can’t produce the paperwork the airlines now expect. Even service dogs from an accredited training program, which are expertly-trained to tolerate quite challenging conditions without causing trouble, may find it hard to get on board.

It remains to be seen how to best balance the needs of people with disabilities who rely on their animals to function and the other passengers’ basic expectation of reasonable safety. Veterinarians, representatives of the air travel industry, and disability advocates are attempting to work together to find a way to ensure that genuine service dogs and ESAs are accommodated without putting other passengers at risk. But one thing is clear: pretending your pet is a service animal is not okay.

By CHERESE COBB

Thirty-five thousand years ago represents a special time in human history: the creation of cave art. Among handprints and humanoids, there was man’s best friend. After the invention of portable art in the Old Stone Age, these five dog breeds made appearances lounging on the laps of kings and queens, nuzzling the faces of famous creatives, and comforting the children of commoners—and that’s just a small fraction of the dog art that exists between the past and the present.

Pugs
Bred to sit on the laps of Chinese emperors during the early Shang Dynasty, Pugs were considered symbols of status and protection. Nicknamed “Foo Dogs” by Silk Road travelers, they were believed to be able to take down lions, which aren’t even native to China. This myth is most likely grounded in traditional Chinese statuary. Foo Dogs resemble Pugs but are actually stone lions that are covered in armor with their mouths open in mid-roar. They’re commonly placed at businesses, temple gates, home entrances and estates. Designed in pairs, the female (yin) protected the people dwelling inside the home while the male (yang) protected the structure itself.

During the 1400s, merchants and travelers brought Pugs—who once had longer muzzles, legs, and tails—to the Netherlands, where they spread across Europe, becoming a French favorite. “The women of Louis XVI’s court could afford to have these little, live-in warmers,” says Shannon Monroe, an art historian at Suffolk County Community College in Selden, New York. “It’s no well-kept secret that Pugs aren’t the slimmest of dogs. They were able to keep their masters warm by sitting on their laps, laying on their feet, and getting in bed with them.”

By the 1700s, Pugs had “exploded onto the Western art scene”. William Hogarth incorporated the little dogs, including his own named Trump, into many of his paintings. Johann Joachin Kaendler, a sculptor in the late 18th century, even created an entire series of Pug figurines, which served as a secret emblem for the German underground Freemason Lodge known as the Order of the Pug.

Greyhounds
Greyhounds originated in Egypt around 9000 B.C. and are the only dogs mentioned by name in the Bible. Frequently displayed on murals in the tombs of the Pharaohs, Queen Hatshepsut—the second female pharaoh—traded four of her finest Greyhounds for cattle herds, myrrh trees, a living southern panther, and ten-foot-high piles of gold, spices and fur.

Greyhounds graced the backs of ancient Greek coins, and Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, often painted them lying near his feet. “In Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, Argo is the beloved and loyal dog of King Odysseus, and although the faithful and tragic animal’s breed is never officially given by the poet, he’s mentioned to have been a swift lean hunting dog, which has lead many scholars to believe that he was a Greyhound,” says Monroe.

Nearly becoming extinct during times of famine in the Middle Ages, the breed also makes many appearances in medieval manuscripts, sometimes in the company of mythological creatures such as griffins and dragons. A symbol of celebrity and loyalty, the breed was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, and Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. “The dog in [19th century painter] Paul Gauguin’s Pastorales Tahitiennes was probably a Greyhound since the scene he sets is one where a beautiful island woman plays the flute, an instrument devoted to the adoration of an island moon goddess,” Monroe says. “Being European—and liking to inject a bit of that iconography into his work—he’d have been familiar with Western depictions of Diana, goddess of the hunt and moon, and her Greyhounds.”

Collies
Collies were brought to England in the 1800s and were shown under the name “Scotch Sheep Dog” in the Birmingham English Dog Show. Queen Victoria had at least two Collies, Noble and Sharp, who were very ill-tempered to everyone but the Queen, according to the Pall Mall Gazette. Reigning for 64 years, she most likely helped the popularity of the Collie and its transition from working dog to family pet.
Charles Burton Barber, a popular English painter of children and pets, captured the special relationship between this breed and children. “A Special Pleader shows a perfectly charming scene of a little girl being punished and the dog looking beseechingly at someone out of the composition, presumably the child’s caretaker,” Monroe says. “The dog’s expression not only gives the painting its name but alludes to the Collie’s charm as being a caring, special member of English households.”

Collies were also popular with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English painters, poets, and critics founded in the late 19th century. “In William Hunt’s Collie and Lamb, the dog stands over the obviously distressed lamb [a symbol of innocence and allegory of sacrifice] caught in the snow and calls for help,” Monroe says. Richard Ansdell, an English oil painter of animals and genre scenes, also painted the breed working in nature, “almost evocative of British Romantic era paintings with a touch of the sublime in a stormy sky and a nostalgia for the pre-industrial revolution era.

Papillons
One of the oldest of the toy spaniels, the Papillon (pah-pee-yown), also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, has a high-domed head and flashy-looking fringed ears that somewhat resemble butterflies. The “big dog in a small body” also comes in a drop-eared variety called the Phalène (fa-len), which means “moth,” a cousin of the butterfly that folds its wings at rest.

Found in Europe as early as the 1200s, the breed’s ancestry is a mystery. While Italy, Belgium, France, and Spain are all strong contenders, a terracotta statue of the breed was discovered in a second-century Roman tomb in Belgium. During the 17th century, Italian breeders transported the little dogs to the court of Louis XV on the backs of mules. Madame de Pompadour, King Henry II of France, and Marie Antoinette—whose dog named Thisbe stood faithfully outside the prison where the hapless queen awaited beheading—owned Papillons. The breed has been traced back to depictions from the 16th century: a testament to its tenacity and staying power. Old masters like Rubens, Fragonard, Van Dyke, and Watteau portrayed Papillons in various artworks, usually accompanying their doting mistresses. “Titian painted them into so many of his works that they became known as Titian Spaniels,” Monroe says. In his Venus of Urbino, a young woman reclines on a bed in an opulent Renaissance palace. She is sensuous and gazes at the viewer kindly. A Papillion, a symbol of marital fidelity, sleeps at her feet while a maid looks down upon a young child playing, which symbolizes motherhood. “The little Papillion has survived…better than the royal families in whose courts they were once such a favorite,” says June Peterson-Crane, a historian at the Papillon Club for America. “Men, women, and children of all ages take them into their laps and hearts.”

Xoloitzcuintlis
Perhaps, the Xoloitzcuintlis’ (pronounced show-loh-eets-KWEENT-lee) ego stems from the fact that it’s one of the most easily recognized and most often depicted dog in the Americas. “Beginning as early as 300 B.C., they appear as single effigy vases, as dancing figures, as old and wrinkly and pregnant, and sometimes with an ear of corn in their mouths,” Monroe says. The Olmec tribe, often regarded as the mother culture of Mexico, and the Aztecs raised Xolos (“sho-los”), which were eaten by the wealthy, usually only on special occasions. They conducted canine sacrifices by shooting them with arrows, asphyxiating them, or throwing the hog-tied animals on rocks before extracting their hearts, which were later cooked and given to Tlaloc, the rain god. The Mayans also mummified “Colima dogs,” believing that they would eventually join them in the underworld, called Xibalba, roughly translated as “place of fear.”

During WWI, military scientists experimented on the Mexican Hairless with poisonous gases because of the similarities between the animals’ slightly waxy skin and that of humans, which accelerated the already-dwindling population. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the breed caught the eye of artists. Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted a series of frescoes on the stairway walls and corridors of the Palacio Nacional: one depicts a Xolo snarling at a European dog imported by the Spanish conquistadors. They also make cameo appearances in several of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits including Itzcuintli Dog with Me and Portrait with Small Monkey.

By CHERESE COBB

Just call him Pablo Pawcasso. Hunter, a 5-year-old black-and-tan Shiba Inu from Alberta, Canada, has learned how to paint abstract masterpieces by crosshatching non-toxic acrylics in a drippy, streaky and swirly style.

His owners, Kenny Au, a computer engineer, and Denise Lo, an ESL teacher, discovered his hidden artistic talent when they were looking for a new hobby to teach him after he “got as far as he could go” in regards to agility courses. Incredibly crafty and intelligent, proud and independent, careful and tidy, Hunter enjoys exploring new hiking routes, chasing backyard birds and solving children’s puzzles.

“He needs…physical and mental challenges to be happy,” Lo says. “He’s either sleeping soundly or 100 percent ready to accomplish his goals.

A year ago, they got him a little piano, but he hated it. Then a blank space on their wall inspired them to teach Hunter a doggone good trick: how to create art by painting paper with short, confident strokes.

“We had a large blank wall that needed something to go on it, and we thought about how we could make something that the whole family could contribute to,” she says. “Because Hunter is such a calm, careful and responsive dog, we figured he’d be able to learn the brushing motions to create some kind of memento for us. We were really surprised at how good the result was right off the bat.” So, they shared his work on Facebook and Reddit where it generated a lot of memes and even a Photoshop battle.

“We don’t paint every day,” Lo tells FETCH. “Hunter usually barks and stares at us when he wants to do it.” Then he patiently stands in front of a blank piece of acrylic paper, taped on top of a black tarp by his humans. He’s extremely picky about the weight of the brushes and how chewy they are. When he finally chooses one, his owners dab it in the paint and stick it between his teeth. After making a brush stroke on the paper, he’s handed another brush with a different paint color and rewarded with kibble.

“It’s not much, but it’s different from the brand that we usually feed him. He thinks it’s a treat,” she says. “When he learns a new trick, however, he’s…visibly proud of himself, so it isn’t just the treats that motivate him. We can definitely see that he enjoys being placed in different environments and learning new things, especially after struggling with it. I think that’s something that both an artist and [a] doggo can share.”

While Hunter is normally pretty careful about where the paintbrush goes, he’ll occasionally try to paint lying down, ending up with a rainbow of paint specks dried in his fur. As for signing his paintings, he doesn’t like getting his paws dirty at all, so the couple created a stamp from a mold of his paw. “If he’s feeling bored or uninspired, then he changes up his brush strokes a bit and the paintings become more interesting,” Lo says. “We’re trying watercolors as well, and we think the combination would look really good. We prefer it if he’s not painting the exact same way every time because each painting should be unique.”

Au and Lo don’t think that Hunter’s more capable of being trained than other dogs or breeds. Some dogs can balance three pints of Ben & Jerry’s on their heads. Some dogs can hold behemoth slices of pepperoni pizza in their mouths without wolfing them down. Some dogs can even ride forward and backward on bicycles with training wheels. “Just like people, it really depends on the dogs and what they’re into,” Au says. “A large part of it has to do with the time and the effort that the owners are willing to commit to finding out what interests their dogs have and how to encourage them to test their limits.”

Hunter isn’t just painting for kicks—er, wags—anymore, though. He’s cashing in on his talents with his nearly 100 paintings fetching $41.06 each on Etsy. (Now, that’s a lot of kibble.) He’s also giving pound puppies a paw up by donating his paintings to Second Chance Animal Rescue Society in Edmonton, Alberta.

The couple wonders if he’ll ever get bored—at which point they’ll stop doing it. But that hasn’t happened. “He’s been really consistent, and he’s still enjoying it,” Lo says. “[However], he thinks of us more as his companions than his masters, so if he thinks we are treating him unfairly, he’ll let us know.” Follow him on online @shibaartonline or visit his Etsy store (etsy.me/2J0Sfoy) to commission an original painting.

This theme really resonates with me. I’ve always been an artsy person that finds peace in those precious moments when I am creating. From poetry to photography, from writing a story to collaging, I just find it so rewarding to create something that I consider to be an extension of who I am. And not to sound vain, I just can’t help but leave a piece of me everywhere I go. Dogs are a huge inspiration in my artwork. Why? Because they are a huge part of my life. They leave a lasting impression and are the ideal muse for me. A dog is truly your best friend. And they make perfect Alebrijes.

Note: A vet is just as much of an artist as a painter or musician…wouldn’t you agree? Anyone can be an artist. That’s why it is such a great theme. The type of art you create, the passion that drives you is completely subjective and not everyone will relate. But that’s ok. So I challenge you to let go this summer and make some art. You deserve a break!

To the art of living life your way,

NPutz