A one-eared dog by the name of, Van Gogh, was able to paint a perfect picture of his forever home and work his way into it.
The 7-year-old pit bull mix lost his left ear after being used as a bait dog in a dog-fighting ring in North Carolina.
Rescuers found him bloodied in a drainpipe with an ear so damaged it needed to be surgically removed.
After Jaclyn Gartner, founder of the nonprofit Happily Furever After Rescue in Bethel, Connecticut, saw a bleeding photo of the poor pup, she immediately wanted to help.
“The second I saw his picture online, I just had love for this dog,” Gartner, 34, told TODAY.
Gartner then called the shelter, where Van Gogh was staying, to check on the pup and see if there was any adoption interest.
“The smile he had was just so big, and he seemed so sweet. I spoke to the shelter about him, and they said he hadn’t gotten any interest.”
But luckily, one of Gartner’s volunteer fosterers offered to take Van Gogh in temporarily, so, they worked with the nonprofit, Pilots N Paws, and flew Van Gogh to Connecticut from North Carolina.
To help expedite the process for his forever home, Gartner had the idea for Van Gogh to paint a picture similar to his namesake, Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.
She placed dollops of paint on an 8-by-10-inch canvas, which she sealed into a large plastic bag using dog-safe peanut butter, the pup instantly got to work smearing the paint into a form of impressionistic art.
“It was adorable,” she says. “He was really enjoying it.”
Gartner decided to let him keep “painting” more art for a special adoption event with Van Gogh as the sole attraction. She advertised his “art gallery” on social media and set up food and drinks at a volunteer’s home – but only two people showed up.
Van Gogh needed a new temporary foster home he was sent to volunteer Jessica Starowitz.
“She came over and met him, and they instantly hit it off. He loved her, and she loved him,” Gartner says. “So, after she left, I texted her, ‘Is it too soon for me to ask if you would ever consider adopting him?’”
Only 48 hours later, Starowitz adopted the dog.
“I didn’t adopt him to paint and make money off him,” Starowitz, 44, says. “I adopted him because I fell in love with him.”
Since then, the dog has done commissions on his own will and spends time together with family.
“We’ll let him keep painting until he says he’s done with it — probably if we run out of peanut butter or liverwurst or snacks,” Starowitz said with a laugh.
Fittingly, Starowitz has always been a longtime fan of Van Gough, and in fact, her sons gave her a Lego set of “The Starry Night” as a gift.
She hopes that Gogh’s story can provide inspiration for other furry friends who need a home.
“Dogs give you unconditional love, so you just return the favor,” she says. “See how fun it can be.”
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