Dogs rescued from puppy mills have physical as well as emotional trauma. Their toes are often spread out and splayed from standing on wire mesh cage bottoms. Some of the dogs have physical or neurological damage from life confined in a cage. Because what human contact they have known has been harsh and cruel, these dogs are often timid and afraid of people. Often they behave more like a frightened wild animal than “man’s best friend”.
If there is a message in my art it is always placed a few layers deep. My desire is to have the viewer drawn in to the work before discovering meaning. These paintings have an unfinished look, the dog in the picture is left as a charcoal drawing because the dogs themselves are a “work in progress”.When thinking about creating this series of paintings I remembered a saying by English poet George Herbert; “Living well is the best revenge”. Living well, after a life in a small wire cage, would be standing on plushy furniture!Dogs captive in commercial breeding facilities (aka puppy mills) don’t live well by any stretch of the imagination. They are confined in small cages sometimes no more than six inches larger than the dog on all sides! Female dogs are kept pregnant and “producing” constantly. When they can no longer make babies they are discarded. These places are in business for one reason, to make a profit by selling puppies to pet stores and on the internet. Puppy mill dogs are victims of the “worst” practices of this business; greed, cruelty and neglect.