Some animals come from really harsh and painful backgrounds, which can leave them with some permanent scars. But that doesn’t have to keep them from living their best lives.
Like one dog named Van Gogh, who was named after the famed artist after his ear was amputated — and just like Vincent, this dog has a talent for making artistic masterpieces.
Van Gogh, a 7-year-old boxer mix, first arrived at Happily Furever After Rescue in 2019. According to CNN, he was rescued from a North Carolina dogfighting ring, which left his ear in such bad shape that it had to be amputated.
Thus, they named him after the Dutch painter who famously cut off his own ear. “Van Gogh… received his name not because he is an artist, but because he is a work of art,” the rescue wrote on Facebook. “This well-mannered gentleman is certainly a marvel to gaze upon, with his soft brown eyes and majestic brindle coat.”
“Van Gogh is the sweetest, most down-to-earth dog you could ever meet – you cannot help but fall in love.”
However, it proved to be difficult to find this sweet dog a forever home. He ended up back in the shelter after three years, “through no fault of his own.”
As time went on with little to no interest in adopters, the rescue decided to generate some publicity for Van Gogh by embracing his artistic side.
Last month, Happily Furever After held an art gallery fundraiser — where all the art was created by Van Gogh (the dog, that is).
How, you ask, does Van Gogh know how to paint? Like so many great artists, his methods are pretty unique and unusual — he eats peanutbutter.
Shelter founder Jaclyn Gartner told CNN that she puts some paint on a canvas, then puts the canvas in a plastic bag with peanut butter on top. When Van Gogh licks up the peanut butter, he creates some abstract doggie artwork.
The artwork was sold to raise money for shelter, and it doubled as a chance for the public to meet Van Gogh and hopefully lead to an adoption.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. While Van Gogh’s artwork sold well — he reportedly has sold over 30 pieces of art for $40 each — only two people showed up for the art gallery, and Van Gogh did not find an adopter.
But the rescue didn’t give up: they were still determined to find this talented dog a home, and hoped the publicity around his artwork help his case.
“He would love someone who would cuddle him because he’s a cuddler,” Gartner told CNN. “He’s a very go-with-the-flow type of dog.”
Since Van Gogh’s story first broke, the dog has become a viral sensation — and recently got some incredible news.
More and more major news outlets picked up Van Gogh’s story, and the dog’s artwork and his search for a home reached a wide audience. Drew Barrymore called him “my hero” after a segment on CBS Mornings.
But the really good news is that Van Gogh has finally found his forever home!
According to Today, shelter volunteer Jessica Starowitz offered to take in Van Gogh after his foster family was no longer able to care for him due to a surgery. It soon proved to be a perfect match.
“She came over and met him, and they instantly hit it off. He loved her, and she loved him,” Jaclyn told Today.
After 48 hours of fostering, Jessica was in love and decided to adopt him for good. She says she was interested in caring for Van Gogh even before he became famous, and has no interest in profiting off his artwork.
But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up his art career just yet. He has continued to make paintings, and proceeds still go to the shelter to help rescue dogs just like him. According to WSFA, a silent auction of his artwork raised $2,000.
Van Gogh is now settling in well in his new home, and Jessica is continuing to share updates about the dog through his own Instagram page.
She says she hopes Van Gogh’s inspiring story motivates people to adopt shelter dogs, and to consider pit bull mixes.
“They’re such an amazing dog with a bad rap,” she told Today. “Once you meet one, you want to meet them all.”
“Dogs give you unconditional love, so you just return the favor,” she added. “See how fun it can be.”
What a talented, beautiful dog. We’re so glad Van Gogh has finally found a perfect forever home! A true masterpiece 🎨
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