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Tribute to furry friends

December 11 - 17 , 2019

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly Tribute to furry friends

Big-hearted artists and photographers from across the kingdom and around the world have created a colourful calendar boasting pretty painted animal portraits and pictures in a bid to raise awareness about their plights as well as funds for a furry cause.

The Artists for Animals wall calendar was conceptualised by Cheryl Nielson, founder of Bahrain Dumped Dogs (BDD) which was formed in 2017 to help support canines that had been abandoned and left behind without any provision or care, or any spay or neuter programme.

The artists are all members of the Paint My Photo (PMP) website dedicated for several artists and photographers who all enjoy the creative field and use different mixed mediums to express themselves.

Cheryl, who had worked with BSPCA and had created two calendars for them in the past, said: “We are grateful for the generous donation of their images and art work to this calendar.”

The vibrant flip calendar, which aims to support BDD and Voiceless Souls of Bahrain (VSOB),  features images of dogs, swans, elephants, cats, rabbits, horses, cheetahs and a sea turtle. Cheryl is joined on this inspirational initiative by animal lover and care giver Alise Lappo as well as VSOB’s founder Lorraine Wilson. Purchase of a calendar, which is priced at $24.880 (approximately BD9.350, inclusive of shipping), it will help support BDD and VSOB in their work with stray dogs in Bahrain with food, vet care, vaccinations, and Capture, Neuter and Release programme.

“Sadly, there is a never ending stream of street dogs in Bahrain needing appropriate care,” said Lorraine, who founded the non-profit group made up of expatriates volunteering their time and effort to alleviate the sufferings of dogs left behind to fend for themselves on the streets of Bahrain. “We hope that our calendar helps spread awareness about the plight of Bahrain’s street dogs, as well as raise much needed funds.

“The added bonus is that all proceeds go to an important cause. What’s more, as the year progresses, each new month with its beautiful animal paintings gives onlookers another opportunity to talk about the plight of the unfortunate dogs on the streets of Bahrain and the welfare of other animals too.  All too often the only images we see in the rescue community are horrible ones of animal abuse and hardship.”

The dedicated trio produced 500 copies of which to date, more than 350 have been sold and are running out like hot cakes.

Sarah Clarke, Baloo’s Buddies founder and author of the popular Baloo books based on her chocolate brown Labrador therapy dog, is one of the sponsors of this fundraising calendar campaign along with RIA Institute Bahrain. She contributed a poem to the back cover of the 2020 calendar entitled Them and Us. She said: “In December last year, I made several fruitless trips to malls to find a wall calendar “with a heart”. In desperation, I shipped one from the UK.  When I heard that Cheryl was commissioning a calendar to help Bahrain’s Dumped Dogs I jumped at the chance to support them. 

“It’s hard to believe that Baloo is a rescue dog and I am forever grateful to those that continue to work to help unfortunate dogs like him.  I chose April for Baloo’s Buddies month, as internationally, April is Autism Awareness month. While Baloo’s Buddies and RIA Institute works throughout the year to promote acceptance of children and adults on the autism spectrum, April is a chance for us to get more media attention. I chose the goofiest dog paintings in the set as Baloo is such a ditzy character too and I hope everyone will smile when they turn the page to the month of April.”

Some of the other sponsors involved include Animal Care Clinic, Save Veterinary Clinic, Tails Veterniary Centre and animal loving advocates such as Linda Shimp, Jennie Povey, the Faleiro and O’Farrell family, Karen Lundy, Alise and Peg Altemueller who began volunteering at the BSPCA in 1999 working in the thrift shop and shelter. She also worked on producing the newsletter, fundraising events and was a member of the executive committee. She led the Missing Pets Programme. She returned to Missouri with her husband with four pets, two BSPCA adopted dogs, a stray street dog and a cat from the US. They just rescued a dog from the US as well and she continues to support the kingdom with her charitable efforts.

Cheryl added: “The public can help the dogs by purchasing a calendar, purchasing food, donating to vet clinics for emergencies, fostering or giving loving forever homes to dogs that are adoptable or need special after care from vet procedures. Sharing with family, friends and colleagues the suffering of these dogs or social media posts will help us raise awareness.”

Those interested in purchasing a calendar can do so by visiting this link http://art.cherylnielson.com/ or locations such as from the vet clinic sponsors, from Bed & Biscuits too, Delmon Kennels, California Pets, The Bookcase and Piece of Cake.

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