We all have heroes. One of my biggest heroes inspired me to do more lately and I thank her for leading the way.
A few months ago my wife started doing volunteer work for the Oakland Animal Services in the way that she could help them the most. Mo is graphic designer, and while she is amazing with animals, her ability to design posters and fliers for their incoming animals had more of an impact on finding homes for the dogs than if she spent that same time at the shelter. Every week or so she would get a batch of photographs and names of these abandoned animals and work through her tears to show them in their best light. She would show me their pictures and tell me their names and we would fantasize about buying a big ranch one day and having dogs running all over it, all while she stayed up late after working all day to make sure that each poster or flier was perfect. I would wonder what I could do to help as well, then I had an idea.
Over the last few years I have taken up drawing and painting again. Visual art was something that I pursued pretty seriously as a kid but when I found music it fell back in my list of priorities. After our move out west I found myself with some unexpected downtime in my life before the gears of my career got back into full motion, and I decided to spend that free time working on a skill. I picked up a cheap sketchbook and some decent pens and pencils and started drawing again, since then I have tried to spend about 30 minutes a day drawing or painting. Even dumb sketches or doodles count, but I try to draw every day. After a couple of years of this I had drawn pretty much everyone I knew and all of the stuff in my apartment, so I started googling images and practicing drawing them. Enter Mo working with OAS.
It started with a dumb sketch that turned out pretty poorly of a beautiful older dog named Phoebe. I drew it on a small 4”x4” art card and posted it up on Instagram telling people that if anyone adopted Phoebe they would get the portrait as a little thank you.
This didn’t work, but it did catch the attention of OAS and they told me that they loved the idea and asked if I could send in the drawing. I immediately started drawing more dogs. So far I have finished 6 pieces and we mailed them in yesterday. I am posting them here for two reasons…
If you are looking to add a dog to your family I would recommend adopting. If this will be your first dog I recommend an older dog. Older dogs are amazing companions and they know what’s up. Raising a puppy is amazing but it is a tremendous undertaking, older dogs tend to be mellower and lower maintenance. Senior dogs are some of the best creatures on the planet.
If you are an artist or have a skill and would like to help I hope that this would inspire you to consider helping as well. There are a world of skill out there and each one can manifest aide in ways that I couldn’t begin to predict. Maybe you could write a song, create a joke, knit a sweater, or host a party to raise awareness… I don’t know, and I leave it up to you. I know that seeing someone who inspires me working hard made me want to work hard too and I hope to pass that energy on.
Here are some of the dogs that I have drawn so far, you can click on the picture and it will take you to more information about them. I am also including a link to Oakland Animal Services, but I would encourage you to look locally to where you live to see how you can help. I don’t mean to go all Sarah McLachlan on you guys, but there are things out there that need our help and I hope that you might see that you can help in ways that you might not have imagined until you were inspired to try.