When Ed Davis picked up the illustrations of his beloved dogs, Bichons Bert and Ernie, from Max’s Helping Paws Foundation office, he got a little emotional, shedding a few tears in the process.
Davis, a resident of Hollister who works at Hayward Lumber in Monterey, had been going to Carmel Beach to walk Bert and Ernie for the past 10 years and became part of the informal Carmel Beach dog community, along with artist Bonnie Folster and her beloved Scottish deerhound Buck.
Seven years ago Folster started painting and illustrating the dogs she and Buck befriended on Carmel Beach, including Bert and Ernie, and by this year she had accumulated more than 100 works of art.
When she decided to move out of the area, she wanted to donate the artworks to a good cause, which prompted her to put nearly all the works into the public eye, hopefully to be "claimed by" and given to as many of the families of the dogs she painted as possible, as part of a fundraiser for Max’s Helping Paws Foundation and its important mission to provide financial assistance to pets in need.
Folster’s 100 dogs paintings and illustrations (some are acrylic on canvas, others are colored pencil on archival paper) went on display in July and pet owners could “claim” artworks of their pets and, if desired, donate to Max’s Helping Paws. A website was created (https://www.maxshelpingpaws.org/carmel-dogs ) so dog owners could browse the online gallery and see if their four-legged companions were immortalized by Folster.
Davis heard about the gallery and thought, “I wonder if I’ll recognize any of these dogs?” After a few minutes of browsing online, he hit paydirt.
“That’s Ernie! I gotta get this,” he said after spotting a colored pencil drawing of his precious pet. “I got so excited to find Ernie, I stopped looking. Then I wondered if I could find Bert.”
After more browsing, there he was, wearing Ernie’s red Hawaiian shirt (Bert actually favored a blue Hawaiian shirt), but there was no doubt it was Bert. So Davis ordered both pieces of art and went to pick them up at the gallery in Carmel.
“It was wonderful, and very emotional, but they understood,” said Davis, who met with Dyana Klein, co-founder of Max’s, to pick up the art. “I was more than happy to make a donation, but just getting paintings of my guys was even better.”
Although he doesn’t go to Carmel Beach now because of Ernie’s condition and pandemic restrictions, Davis looks fondly on the days Bert and Ernie frolicked on the beach with their four-legged pals.
“It was a bunch of great dogs and a great group of people down there. It’s a wonderful place,” he said about the Carmel Beach dog community. “I hope other owners will be able to find their dogs too.”
One couple who did find their dog, cairn terrier Barley’s painting, was Carmel’s Terry and David Clemens.
“My husband, David, and I met Bonnie and Buck five-plus years ago on Carmel Beach. On our morning walks the two dogs, both Scots, yet very different in size, age, and temperament, became best friends,” said Terry Clemens. “One of Bonnie’s first dog paintings was of our exuberant young Barley. Years later she did another painting of our high-spirited but more mature cairn. We treasure both paintings, and our friendship with Bonnie. Buck will always be loved in our memories. We’re so happy Bonnie’s wonderful work is benefiting dogs and their owners who need help.”
There are about 70 pieces of artwork still unclaimed out of the 100 first displayed on the website gallery. Similar commissioned paintings by Folster, of varying sizes would normally “fetch” between $100 for the small paintings and pencil sketches, and more than $350 for the larger 8x12 paintings. Dog owners can browse the collection at the website at: www.maxshelpingpaws.org/carmel-dogs.
No payment is being requested, however, Folster asks that recipients of her artwork consider making a donation in whatever amount they feel is appropriate to Max’s Helping Paws Foundation’s MC Gives! page at: https://www.montereycountygives.com/nonprofit/animal-relief-fund-monterey/.
“These are a wonderful, personal and very unique opportunity to claim art pieces that capture pups when they are in their most authentic, playful and carefree state — having the most fun,” said Klein. “Bonnie's paintings capture the expressions, the essence of these pups at play on Carmel Beach. These were created over multiple years, so it's also a chance for those whose pets have passed to have something so personal, special and meaningful. Capturing joy is pretty important right now.”
As for Folster, she’s pleased that her artwork is going to a good cause and good homes.
“I didn’t do it to sell, I did it for fun,” Folster said when the fundraiser launched in July. “And it just kind of kept going. No one asked me to paint their dog, but lots of people might be surprised and, I hope, pleased, that I did. I hope they will make a generous donation to Max’s for all they are doing in this community. It’s very gratifying to have the paintings find a home with the people who love their dogs. And I had fun doing them.”
About Max's Helping Paws Foundation
Max’s Helping Paws Foundation (MHPF) was co-founded in 2016 by Dyana Klein and her husband and veterinary internist, Dr. Jonathan Fradkin, in memory of their pet, Maximillian. The foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that supports all Monterey County veterinary practices to provide financial assistance to clients with pets in need of both critical short-term or longer-term care for chronic illness. Since it first started providing financial assistance in mid-2017, MHPF has granted more than $330,000 to give hundreds of pets a second chance. MHFP is based in Monterey County and serves only Monterey County. Max’s Helping Paws Foundation (831) 704-6473 and email@example.com.
Max’s Helping Paws Foundation
26388 Carmel Rancho Lane, Suite D Carmel CA 93923.
Marci Bracco Cain
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