Best in Show

By Carol Bryant

Best in Show

Be the change. That’s what Annamarie “Missy” Johnson decided to do when she put brush to canvas and painted a menagerie of mutts in need.

“I wanted to do some type of project or event that would bring awareness to the amazing work shelters and rescues do every day,” shares Johnson. Armed with a bevy of brushes, Johnson painted portraits of 80 dogs from all over the United States and shared their stories via social media and a blog. Fast-forward 500 days later, and Johnson has thousands of Facebook fans and a message of hope shared.

As Johnson continued painting and learning to incorporate social media into her message, a small wonder surfaced. People began to take notice and comment, spread the word and asked to get involved. Over time, a few celebrity dogs meandered into the mix, including Faith, the two-legged miracle, and Target, the Afghan hero dog that was named USA Today’s Most Heroic Dog of 2010.

“I decided to challenge myself and paint 80 rescue dogs’ portraits and include the stories of their rescue in 80 days,” says Johnson. “That was the understatement of the year, as it took a total of 503 days to complete.” What kept Annamarie going was listening to the stories of the dogs and having their portraits nearby as she created her masterpieces. Paint dripping and tears falling, her giving spirit never wavered.

With the aptly named Dogs for the PAWS project complete, Johnson focuses her efforts on fundraisers for rescues via her online Zazzle store and is currently accepting commissions and special projects. This Rembrandt for Rovers shared some inspirational advice in finding a passion: “Take all the parts and pieces and present it in an engaging and unique way, and your passion will drive you to success.” We couldn’t agree more.

Carol Bryant is the Social Media and PR Director for Fido Friendly magazine. A frequent media contributor, Carol is a two-time nominee from the Dog Writers Association of America, and she maintains her own dog blog, Fidose of RealityHer articles have previously appeared in The Dog Daily.

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