Q: what inspired you to start painting?

I have been painting my entire life, but I feel my artistic passion really came alive after Hurricane Katrina. I was inside of a flooded building after the storm, and found a piece of decorative ceiling tin that had become dislodged. At that moment I had the idea to paint one of the dogs I had rescued on the ceiling tin. Something about the idea of painting an image of salvation on recycled material just seemed appropriate to me.

I knew that in order to paint images of rescue from Katrina I would have to uncap all of the emotions I felt while I was there. Because of this, it took me two years to begin my first ceiling tin painting. I now paint exclusively on pieces of salvaged ceiling tile. The quality of my work greatly improved once I merged my natural artistic ability with my passion for animal rescue.

Q: what type of subjects do you like to focus on?

I paint mostly animals that I have encountered on my various rescue missions"”from sickly dogs in puppy mills to emaciated horses rescued during cruelty cases and cats plucked from flood waters. I strive to capture the indescribable look in these animals' eyes as we remove them from harm's way. On occasion, I do paint other subjects that inspire me. I have painted a collection of work dedicated to great Jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone. Last year I also painted a collection of work depicting President Barack Obama.

Q: what message do your paintings convey?

Through my paintings I hope to educate the public about the horrible abuse of animals that happens throughout the country and all over the world. I hope that, by capturing these animals at their most vulnerable and sharing the hope in their eyes with my audience, I can motivate people to join the animal welfare movement.

Q: do you have a favorite among your paintings ?

Each piece I paint has a very strong emotional effect on me, but recently I have been especially captivated by images of the survivors of our fighting dog rescues. Before I began working for The Humane Society of the United States, I was the Executive Director at the Washington Animal Rescue League, and cared for 11 fighting dogs seized from Michael Vick's property. I have painted those dogs over and over again, and am continuously haunted by their scarred faces and defeated eyes. Every time I see these images, my dedication to the cause of ending suffering is renewed. In my rescue work I witness suffering every day, and painting the animals that we save has become a way for me to process all of this grief.

Q: how long have you been involved in helping animals?

I have been involved in animal welfare for more than 20 years. I began as an animal control officer in Washington, DC, and have worked in many different positions over the years. After leaving DC I became the director of the New York City Animal Care & Control in Manhattan. I then went to the San Francisco Bay area to become Captain of Humane Law Enforcement. I spent time in India to increase standards of humane care of animals, and have also done undercover work to expose animal cruelty in many different countries. One of my biggest accomplishments was building the groundbreaking cage-less shelter facility at the Washington Animal Rescue League in 2006. Since Joining The HSUS in 2007, I have led our Animal Rescue Team to assist in the rescue of more than 30,000 animals.

Q: even though you have seen so much suffering of animals, what are you feeling/thinking when you make a puppy mill bust?

People frequently ask me how I handle seeing so much suffering and cruelty on a regular basis. My response is always the same"”we know this suffering exists, so how could you not do something? My team and I have the ability and resources to bring about significant change for these animals, and I am very thankful for that.

There is no greater feeling than removing a breeding mother dog from the only life she has ever known"”one cramped inside a wire cage living in her own feces"”and finally showing her compassion and security. Without our team's intervention, these dogs would continue to be locked in constant confinement and forced to breed for the rest of their lives. Knowing that, how could we not keep going until all of the cages are empty?

Q: what else would you like to say about your paintings or the work you do for the hsus?

I recognize that I am in a very unique position to end the suffering of countless animals, and also immortalize their souls through my paintings. Each time I capture an animal's rescue through my art, I know that animal did not suffer in vain"”that her ordeal will educate others. Statistics show that there are over 15,000 puppy mills in the country"”one within about 20 miles of every American household. I challenge all of your readers to educate themselves on this cruel industry, and find their own way to become part of the solution.

Q: how can people purchase your paintings?

Anyone interested in purchasing one of my paintings can go to or see my newest works on Facebook.



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