Man’s best friend— a constant companion at your side and a constant source of inspiration as an artist’s muse. Dogs have been depicted in art for centuries; their loyalty, strength,work ethic and love endless fodder for artists to use as both subject and symbol. Today, artists include our four-legged friends in their painting, photography, sculpture, video and drawings, each with their own voice and understanding of the animal. We’ve complied a list of five of our favorite artists who have put fido front and center in their art.
Photographer Anna Sychowicz’s photos of dogs are super saturated, dreamy portraits that are packed full of emotion. It’s the adoration and sweetness we see every time we look at our own pets, only forever captured through a photographer’s lens. She’s elevated the simple pet portrait to something more dynamic and artistic with her use of color and setting; brown dogs pop off the image against vivid purple and become moody and stoic in a darkened barn.
Yet another photographic series comes from Aaron Summerfield with Pet Peeves, albeit with a slightly sillier bent. In the series, you see Summerfield’s Boston Terrier/Frenchie mix Peeve, doing all manner of naughty things in the photographer’s house; all things the mischievous pup had gotten into at one point or another previously. Summerfield so cleverly and sweetly captures the bad behaviors any dog owner knows too well— peeing on the floor, drinking from the toilet, chewing shoes and licking everything in sight.
In a slightly creepy but nonetheless fun turn, there are Tom Campbell’s 120 papier-mache dogs. The Irish artist created these doggie sculptures for the Kinsale Arts Festival in County Cork Ireland with the help of a team of volunteers. After creating the pack of dogs, the artist and his team scattered them around the town during the festival, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. The dogs were of all breeds and in all forms— poodles running, labs sleeping and terriers playing. Campbell encouraged the public to interact with the dogs which made for some seriously funny (and weird) formations throughout the entirety of the festival, like the dog pile on the beach or the single line formation down the street.
Gloria Najecki couldn’t give herself a more fitting moniker with Gloria Paints Dogs— the woman paints a lot of dogs. Her work is straightforward and uncomplicated but with incredible depth and skill. She understands both the physical and emotional complexities of the dogs she paints, from getting the texture of their fur just right to capturing their personalities with paint.
The only thing cuter than a tiny dachshund is a giant dachshund and author Mitch Boyer is capitalizing on this truth in his latest children’s book, Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn. Currently a Kickstarter project, the book is meant to help children deal with change in their own lives, as Vivian navigates the Big Apple after moving there from New Mexico. Vivian and her owner are captures in a series of sweet, fun photos, from taking selfies at the Brooklyn Bridge to cuddling on the couch in a high rise with New York City buildings in the background. Not only is it a engaging, thoughtful way to show kids that change doesn’t have to be bad, it’s also cleverly and artistically shot with Vivian towering over her owner in each photo.
Don’t hesitate to capture your best friend in your artistic style – and share it, like the people did above, on sites that take art submissions!
If you’re celebrating Halloween this year, we’re sure you’ll want to include your precious pooch in your festivities. And what is Halloween without a costume? We’ve put together an album of costume ideas for your dog.
If you ever think you may kennel your dog (meaning at a boarding kennel or even a friend or relative’s house), consider taking your dog there when he is young for a “test run” night or weekend. Ask your friend or the kennel personnel to report on your dog’s behavior. This way, you can get your dog used to the idea of staying someplace different and have an idea how he will react.
If You Go The Kennel Route:
When you take your dog and leave him — DO NOT cry and hug him and tell him how much you will miss him! DO NOT become emotional in front of the dog — NO KIDDING!! Your dog will think: “Why are they SO UPSET?? This must be a bad place!” DO take your dog there with a positive, happy attitude and tell him hat a good time he will have, then give him to the attendant and walk away. You can do your crying in the car (I do!). If you become emotional, you are setting your dog up for fearful and panic-like behavior at the kennel!
When you kennel your dog, it is best that he eat the same thing you feed him at home; that way the stress of the new environment AND new food won’t set him up for vomiting or diarrhea. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations – this is the simplest and least expensive way to protect your dog against the contagious things we CAN prevent, like Bordatella, Coronavirus, Parvovirus, etc.
I ALWAYS make sure my dog has prevention against Heartworm and especially fleas (and ticks, if necessary) by having them on Sentinel (by Novartis – a veterinary prescription product), and I may even put either FrontLine, Topspot, or Advantage on them. At the very least, it is not a bad idea to have the kennel bathe your dog the day you pick him up. This way, if you request a flea bath, the fleas he may have picked up will be left there and he will be clean from any kennel smell he may have picked up.
If You Take Your Dog Travelling With You:
If you want your dog to behave and be comfortable in the car, then start young, and take him to fun places. Many people don’t understand why their dog doesn’t like car rides, but say they only take him to the vet, kennel, or groomer! Gosh, I wouldn’t have fun either!! When I have a puppy, my puppy goes with me on short trips to the corner store, to the post office, to the park, to the pet store, etc. Trips should be frequent, short and fun to make a good “go Bye Bye” impression on your dog.
Traveling with your dog is safest when the dog is either in a crate (see more on crate training here) or with a seatbelt on. That way quick stops or accidents don’t have to mean injury to your dog. This also keeps busybodies in one place! If you have doubts whether your dog will be carsick, DO NOT feed at least 12 hours before travel.
If you must leave your dog in the car for any length of time, remember that even cloudy, cool days can kill your dog! The heat in your car can become unbearable within minutes. Windows should be more than cracked (I found window guards which allow me to open my windows further without letting would-be thieves get their hands inside), a sunscreen should block the windshield (they make nice reflective ones), and you should park in the shade. Vans or minivans (especially if they have smoke glass side and rear windows) stay much cooler than cars and they have more windows that can be opened. If you are gone any length of time, CHECK on your dog frequently. When you come back, give the dog a drink of water. Don’t let him gorge, just let him drink some and then wait a bit and offer more. Dogs will sometimes vomit if a large amount of water hits their stomach all at once.
Speaking of water, it is a good idea to bring a jug of water from home, both for on the road use and also because some dogs don’t get used to other water easily and can develop vomiting or diarrhea from an unfamiliar water supply.
Some Hotel Hints
When you take your dog to a new place to stay (hotel, cottage, etc.) they may not be on their best behavior. They understand what the routine and rules are at home, but may not understand that those rules pertain no matter where you are! Often the best insurance for that is to bring your dog’s crate along on the trip (you did purchase a fold down suitcase style variety, didn’t you???). This will do two things: it will provide a confinement for your dog and prevent damage that you may have to pay for, and it will be a safe and familiar place for your dog to call his own while you are on the road.
If you leave the motel room, I would first try to leave for a short trip (maybe to get some ice) to see how your dog acts in the room. You don’t want your neighbors complaining. Even a dog-friendly hotel won’t hesitate to kick you out if you disturb others! Still, a new traveler will react to passers-by by barking – it is up to you to let him know this is NOT acceptable. If I leave my dogs in the room, I leave the room vent/air conditioner on, and the television on to create some white noise to drown out all the outside noise the dog won’t be used to.
Things To Bring Along
When I travel, I have a bag I pack just for the dogs. In this bag are things I have learned that I may need.
A blanket or king sized flat sheet to put over the covers on the bed to keep the dog hair off for subsequent guests.
Towels to wipe wet dogs, or dirty ones (I once had to take Cody to a coin operated car wash for a hose down after he had diarrhea in my van! Luckily, I had the seats covered and I just had to throw the cover out, but I did not have towels to dry him off!)
First aid kit for dogs
Cleaning and deodorizing solution and paper towels
Travel bowls for food and water
Jug of water from home
Shampoo – for those emergency baths
Travel leash (your dog should be on a leash at all times – after all, he IS in a strange place) and Flexi-leash for more freedom
Identification tags (on the dog!!!)
Baggies to clean up the dog poop (you DO clean up after your dog, don’t you???)
Large garbage bags for big problems like Cody’s diarrhea incident!
Heartworm preventative and flea and tick medication
Brush (I once had to pick burrs out of my dog’s coat after a romp in a field)
Problem Cases – How To Desensitize
Dogs who become carsick must be exposed SLOWLY to riding in the car. Each step should take a week, and if the dog gets sick on a step, you need to back off to the previous step until he doesn’t get sick.
Put the dog in the car. Have a toy to keep the dog’s mind off the car, but don’t let him get too rowdy.
Dog in the car, car started and running in driveway.
Dog in the car, car started. Back down the driveway and then move back up the driveway (IF the dog hasn’t gotten sick on the way down!)
Dog in the car, take car around the block (shorten the trip for a week if even that is too much)
Dog in the car, take car to local convenience store and back home (or any place close but farther than around the block with a couple of starts and stops along the way).
Dog in the car, short trip (you decide the length based on how your dog is responding.
Dogs who get carsick will especially benefit from either a crate (especially the more enclosed plastic crates) or a seatbelt (check your local pet shop for dog seat belts). These will limit unsteady movements. Keep in mind, dogs don’t always vomit when they are carsick. Some may just drool excessively or look wet around the mouth and may have a sick or queasy look in their eyes. Watch your dog for signs of carsickness and work with the steps above to make both of you feel better!