AUSTIN (KXAN) - Last fall, Austin artist Jessica Stone , who already had one rescue dog, told her husband she wanted another one. Not only that, she wanted a rescue dog that no one else would want, an animal with special needs, perhaps.
They put out the word and immediately received a call from San Antonio Bulldog Rescue . It seems there was a 7-year-old one-eyed bulldog named Piper available. Besides the missing right eyeball, there were other problems, chief among them, severe hip dysplasia which caused a noticeable limp.
The hip issue also made it hard for Piper to properly position herself for "Number Two" procedures, meaning whoever owned her would need to perform a bit of a wiping maneuver from time to time.
Stone didn't care.
"The guy who surrendered her wouldn't give San Antonio Bulldog Rescue any information," she said. "He said that he was afraid of her because she can be grumpy.
"And if you don't know how to be patient and understanding with her, then she probably would be scary. She gets startled easily. You can't bug her when she's sleeping. She doesn't like to get picked up because it hurts her hips.
"But she is quite the entertaining dog," Stone went on. "I mean, there's never a dull moment with her. She's hilarious.
"Looking at her makes you smile. She even makes you want to talk in a silly baby voice. My husband talks in a voice I've never heard him talk in throughout the 5 1/2 years I've been with him. When you look at her it just makes you silly."
So Piper moved in and started hanging out with Stone when she painted. But the dog didn't just hang out; she stared.
"She basically told me she was interested in painting," Stone said. "She gave me the idea.
"I know that sounds crazy, but it's true, by the way she behaved every time I would paint. She gets upset if I paint and I don't let her paint."
So Stone did let her paint, or rather, helped her paint.
"I've always been honest," she said, "about the fact that she chews on the brush and I hold the paper and I change her colors, but good luck trying to get your dog to do it."
Curmudgeons who are skeptical about whether such procedures amount to "painting," barely rate a shrug from Stone.
"If people are skeptical," she said, "well then it's their loss because they're missing out on a beautiful thing."
That beautiful thing emerges every time Piper hears a rustle or a crinkle from Stone's studio. The dog rushes into the studio and won't budge until Stone slips the handle of a freshly paint-doused brush into her mouth. A few minutes later, another colorful "painting" is hung on a drying line.
Along the way, Stone, on a whim, decided to post one of Piper's pieces on Facebook. It sold within a week and a few months later, Stone quit counting Piper's sales after they passed the fifty mark.
Now Piper isn't exactly getting rich. But she is making enough money to cover her own medical bills and to pay for things like her Web site and PayPal fees.
On top of that, a percentage of her income goes back to the rescue group that saved her life. She also donates some of her paintings to other rescue groups for them to sell.
Feeling a bit star-struck? Well, you can meet "Piper" in person this Saturday at the " Just for Pets " store at 3742 Far West Blvd. Her appearance will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Bring your wallet, because 25 percent of Piper's sales will benefit the rescue group that saved her life.
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