Blogger, artists offering portraits to families who lost pets in fire

A blogger and group of artists are working to create individual pet portraits for all 59 families who lost their dog in the Ponderosa Pet Resort fire Saturday night. The portraits are free and are meant to honor those dogs lost.

Monday, a memorial of photos, notes, and flowers cover the front gates of the Ponderosa Pet Resort to remember the dogs killed in the fire.

The Georgetown Fire Department has moved the dogs to a local vet clinic. All dog owners were sent an email with three options on what to do next including having their pet cremated free of charge, picking up their pet’s remains themselves, or having their pet brought to them.

The investigation could take up to a week according to the department.

"The headline was 75 dogs killed at a fire at a boarding facility and I sat there in silence. It’s like everyone’s worst nightmare," said Melanie Demi, a local dog blogger on Instagram who goes by the username @herboozytails. 

She knew after seeing that headline she had to do something to help the 59 families who lost their dogs. "Losing a dog, it’s just so hard. They’re not just a dog, they’re a family member. You’re losing a piece of your family," she said.

Demi recruited artists locally and around the country to help her create free pet portraits for the families. Those artists include Coloring ATX, Sheila Chen Art, Kathy Pham, Pet Portraits by Helen, Swish Graphic, Color for Breakfast, Mazapán Paper Co. and Hannah Elliot.

Demi says she has got in contact with 18 families so far and is still looking to get in touch with the rest to provide these pet portraits free of charge. The portraits are being funded by a GoFundMe page to cover the costs of labor and supplies.

"As I’ve been getting sent the pictures, I just get tears in my eyes because I can’t imagine the pain of what they’re going through," said Sarah Wishing, one of the artists Demi recruited to create these portraits. 

Wishing lives just outside of Pittsburgh, but still heard about what happened in Georgetown and wanted to help. "I can’t imagine the devastation the 75 families are going through losing their precious pets so suddenly and tragically," she said.

Wishing says she is sent a photo and she uses a program on her iPad to draw the dog to create a beautiful portrait for the family. She says it takes her about 30 minutes to an hour.

A blogger and group of artists are working to create individual pet portraits for all 59 families who lost their dog in the Ponderosa Pet Resort fire Saturday night. 

"Nothing can begin to replace the loss that they’ve gone through, but I hope it will bring them joy looking at the pieces and thinking of all the memories they’ve had together," said Wishing.

Demo says she got the idea from her own pet portrait that was gifted to her when her dog passed away. She hopes portraits help these families as much as hers helped her. "Every time I walk past, I look at it with a nice smile and it brings me a little bit of joy," said Demi.

If you are someone who lost their dog in the Ponderosa fire and would like a portrait of your dog, message Demi on Instagram @herboozytails. Those wanting to donate to the cause can click here

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