Because Hawaii is home for us, and we adopted the super-awesome, Miss Kylie from a shelter there, we found this story wonderful and worth sharing. And it was especially interesting to find it on a Colorado website (that’s where we live now),

Travelers give Hawaii dogs second chance on mainland

“The lanky, charcoal-gray dog with a distinctive, wiry hairdo would stand out in most other animal shelters, but no one gave him a second look on Hawaii’s island of Kauai.

But thanks to a tourist willing to take him across the Pacific, an Airedale terrier-Irish wolfhound mix named Grady now enjoys a bildespacious California loft with a new owner.

The Kauai Humane Society since December has been reaching out to tourists and others traveling to California and Oregon to see if they’re willing to check some extra luggage — one of the island’s many stray or abandoned dogs.

When a traveler agrees, the shelter pays a reduced rate of $100 to fly the dogs on Alaska Airlines to get them to shelters in Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., where most get adopted within a couple of weeks. Dogs can also make the trip as cargo at a more expensive rate.

Shelter officials attribute some of the program’s success to the uniqueness of the animals. Kauai’s only shelter gets a lot of stray and abandoned dogs derived from hunting breeds used for stalking feral pigs on the island.

The animals can languish for months at Kauai’s shelter. But once they’re sent to the mainland, the dogs are snatched up quickly because they’re different from others normally offered for adoption.

“Some are kind of funny looking, unusual looking,” said Laura Fulda, vice president of marketing and development at the East Bay SPCA. “They tend to be a little shy, very sweet, well-behaved and have had some training, and they are friendly toward other dogs.”

Grady was brought to Kauai’s shelter in November by an owner who was moving away. He didn’t get much attention at first, shelter operations manager Brandy Varvel said.

“He sat there, and I never saw a single person look at him,” Varvel said.

But at the East Bay SPCA in Oakland, it was love at first sight when 46-year-old Martin Sprouse saw the 50-pound dog on the shelter’s website.

Sprouse, who designs modern furniture for a living, was waiting when the shelter opened its doors the next morning.






By the way, in Hawaii a mixed breed dog, a.k.a. mutt, like Kylie is called a “poi dog!”




The effervescent and unforgettable Kylie was the inspiration for the formation Pop Art Pet; as such she has been the subject of multiple portraits that will forever grace our walls. So she provides the perfect example of all three of our styles of custom pet portraits.

Pop Art – Still the most popular style among our clients, especially the quintessential Warhol-style, four-panel. But for Kylie we opted for the larger-than-life single panel!

Comic – The best option for displaying your pet’s personality in vivid detail. For capturing Kylie’s craziness there was only one option, her arch nemises, Pinky! That crazed look in her eye is how she looked whenever she contemplated un-stuffing her favorite/most hated toy.

Traditional – Over the years, its possible that the soft subtle styles of our traditional pet portraits have become our favorite. They just turn out so beautiful, and of course Kylie’s artwork is no exception if we may say so. We have done both a favorite photo of Kylie enjoying a great day, and a close-up of her cute face. And the latter we decided to have framed instead of stretching for a different look.

kylietrad1 kylietrad2

Ultimately, deciding which style of art is best for your pet’s portrait comes down to your individual artistic taste, but we feel we have something to appeal to everyone and to capture the personality of every pet.

PS: If your pet has enough personality for three different portrait styles, we’d be happy to offer you a bulk discount!

Do you feel like you know what kind of mood your dog is in by the look on her face? And can you tell when your dog is really disappointed in you, because of those accusing eyes? Well now, according to a study examined in this article from The Telegraph, scientists have proven that you’re not completely crazy, and you’re not just “projecting.”

Scientists prove you really can tell what your dog is feeling by looking at its face

Any dog owner will claim they can tell exactly what their pet is thinking just by looking at it. Now scientists have discovered that they may well be right.

A study has shown that people are able to precisely identify a range of emotions in dogs from changes in their facial expressions.

The research showed that volunteers could correctly spot when a dog was happy, sad, angry, surprised or scared, when shown only a picture of the animal’s face, suggesting that humans are naturally attuned to detecting how animals are feeling.

Dr Tina Bloom, a psychologist who led the research, said: “There is no doubt that humans have the ability to recognise emotional states in other humans and accurately read other humans’ facial expressions. We have shown that humans are also able to accurately – if not perfectly – identify at least one dog’s facial expressions.

“Although humans often think of themselves as disconnected or even isolated from nature, our study suggests that there are patterns that connect, and one of these is in the form of emotional communication.”

(Click here to read the complete article.)

Hmm.. kind of makes you think that dogs wouldn’t really make very good poker players!



We have a very small bathroom, so some would suggest that bright, busy prints would not be the best decorating idea. But we decided to go with a bold choice in shower curtain selection…

The shower curtain came from the “logo gear” department of our own online gift shop. But we only considered buying it for ourselves after we noticed in our sales reports that several of them had already sold. You see while we provide the artwork for the items in our shops, the orders are fulfilled elsewhere so we don’t get to see how things turn out unless we order them for ourselves. Anyway, the boost in shower curtain sales made us curious.

Turns out, it looks pretty awesome (if we say so ourselves)! What a great way to brighten your day. And just goes to show, you shouldn’t always follow the rules – at least not when it comes to home decor.

And since we are already shamelessly self-promoting, we may as well point out that our online gift shops also include lots of great breed art, on lots of items that make great gifts!


This makes a really affordable alternative to custom pet portraits no matter what your budget is. Okay, infomercial over! :)

A pair of dogs at MaxFund a local no-kill shelter here in Denver are gaining national attention. Chico, a blind Australian Shepherd, and Jack, his faithful seeing-eye buddy arrived at the shelter when their human passed away.

Their story is sure to warm and/or break your heart…

Obviously it’s imperative that these two be adopted together, if you can help please contact MaxFund Animal Adoption Center. If you know somebody else who can, please share the story.

Did you know the average pet owner spends forty minutes each day with their pet?  That is according to The Book of Times: From Seconds to Centuries, a Compendium of Measures, by Leslie Alderman. The book takes a closer look at how we Americans spend our days.

And interestingly while the amount of money we spend on our pets each year as a country nearly doubled between 2001 and 2012 – the amount of time we spend with them has remained relatively constant.

But this post we found on Mother Nature Network has 3 simple suggestions on how to spend more quality time with your fur kids (without calling in sick):

“..Pets thrive from the attention of their owners.  And study after study has found that time spent with pets equates to better health for people, too.  So why not invest a few extra minutes each day to showing your favorite furry or feathered creature some love?  Here are three ways to fit more time with your pet into your already busy schedule.

Capture little moments.  You don’t need hours of free time to show your pet some love.  Talk to your pet while your doing chores around the house.  It doesn’t matter what you talk about, just be sure to look in his eyes and let him know he has your attention.  Use your evening TV time to brush or dog or let your kitten snuggle on your lap while you read to the kids.

Practice makes perfect.  Too busy to toss a ball in the backyard?  You can still give your doggie some attention by taking advantage of your time while making dinner, folding the laundry or doing paperwork to help your pet practice his obedience skills – assuming he has some skills to practice in the first place.  He can practice sit-stays, lay-down-stays, and even fetching a rolling ball if these are skills you’ve worked on before.  Keep the sessions easy and light – just enough to give him a skills refresher and let him soak up some attention.

tagalongLet her tagalong. If your dog or cat enjoys a change of scenery, consider taking him along in the car or on a walk the next time you have to run a few quick errands.  Just be sure that your errands won’t leave your pet behind in the car for an extended period in the heat or cold.”
The article ends by posing a question, “How much time do you spend with your pet each day?”

We were wondering the same thing.. is 40 minutes an accurate average estimate?

Let us know…

Snowed in?? Why not take the opportunity to take pictures of your pet?

We often work with clients who are disappointed and surprised when they realize how few pictures they have of their pets.   And with the weather being so crazy this winter you’ve probably found yourself stuck at home on more than one blustery day…  so why not grab the camera (the actual camera, not the one on your cell phone) and have some fun harassing the animals!

Whether your dog loves the snow, and you can get some great action shots; or your cats or dog (or you) are not a big fan of the white stuff – just keep snapping and you’re sure to get some cute and comical shots!

You may never decide to have a pet portrait made from your photos, but you can still never have too many pictures of those crazy critters living in your house!

And here’s a tip, in the house or even out in the bright white snow.. use the flash!


You know what’s great about our job?? Our clients send us the cutest pictures! [Just check out this collection of some of our Super Cute Clients on our Facebook page.] Yes, obviously we get to see lots of adorable photos of dogs and cats, and the occasional guinea pig; we evaluate them for their suitability to create the best possible pet portrait, because as we tell our clients, “the better the picture we start with, the better the portrait!”

But as we mentioned in the previous post, we do more than pet portraits around here.. sometimes we do custom portraits using people’s vacation photos, or pictures of their favorite things. And yes of course sometimes we work with photos from the family album.

custom8 example3 people_portrait


So again, remember to Think Art!.. it not only makes a great gift, it brightens up your walls and keeps your memories alive!



If you follow our Facebook page, you may have noticed our recent fun home art project, these mini Pop Art canvases..

We created these for a redecorating project in the basement – perhaps we’ll tell you more about that later.

It turns out these custom portraits inspired a friend of ours who was in search of gifts for a couple of friends who have had new baby girls. She didn’t want to give the usual baby loot; blankies, stuffed animals, things that are outgrown and forgotten in a few months. So she decided she wanted to give the gift of art! Art is unique and can be personalized, as a gift it is incredibly thoughtful and leaves an impression on the recipient.

Our friend chose a quote she had seen, its origin is apparently unknown, “Let her sleep; for when she wakes she will move mountains,” then with a little guidance from our resident artist she created her own designs and color palette to make it a truly special piece for each family. We assisted by printing the finished images on canvas and stretching them, and as you can see, the results were adorable.




These are one of a kind gifts that the new parents will love to hang in the nursery, and they will be suitable on their daughters’ wall for years to come. And you can bet they will never forget who gave them these original pieces of art.

So next time you have a gift to give, think art! Of course, a custom pet portrait is a great idea for the dog lover or cat lover in your life. But look around.. you never know where you might find a little inspiration!

Lucy and Kandu, both born with no front legs have not only learned to thrive, they’ve become therapy dogs, bringing their ‘can do’ attitude to inspire patients in need!