Senior Citizens Paint Portraits of Elderly Shelter Dogs to Help Pets Get Adopted

Senior Citizens Paint Portraits of Older Shelter Dogs to Help Pets Get Adopted
Chuck Krouse with the picture he painted of Bo the dog for the Grandpaws Initiative . PHOTO: COURTESY OF DRAW FOR PAWS

Senior dogs waiting to find homes are getting help from a different community of seniors.

Draw for Paws, a project started by animal lover Scarlett Chwatko that raises money for animals in need through art, recently kicked off its Grandpaws Initiative.

The new program aims to help senior pets find homes faster — since the animals can often be overlooked at shelters — by having animal-loving senior citizens paint portraits of the pooches to raise awareness about senior pet adoption.

Residents of The Virginian Senior Living Community in Fairfax, Virginia, were the first to participate in the Grandpaws Initiative, enthusiastically painting pictures of three elderly dogs from Homeward Tails, an animal shelter in Fairfax.

Senior Citizens Paint Portraits of Older Shelter Dogs to Help Pets Get Adopted
George and Page Gilliam with their paintings of Pippa the dog.COURTESY OF DRAW FOR PAWS

The talented residents carefully worked to highlight each dog’s winning personality and adorable appearance in their portraits and were all smiles while working on the feel-good project.

The three lucky dogs chosen to be the first models for the Grandpaws Initiative were 11-year-old Pippa, a white dog with black markings who loves to be doted on; Bo, a 9-year-old canine who appreciates a short walk and a long snuggle session; and Cali, an 8-year-old relaxed and friendly pooch who loves spending time with kids. All of the dog muses are available for adoption at Homeward Tails.

Senior Citizens Paint Portraits of Older Shelter Dogs to Help Pets Get Adopted
Hilda Shaffer painting a portrait of Cali the dog.COURTESY OF DRAW FOR PAWS

Draw for Paws looks forward to helping more senior shelter pets through the Grandpaws Initiative. The project started in 2018 when 8-year-old animal shelter volunteer Chwatko decided to combine her passion for art and animals by drawing portraits of people’s pets for a $20 donation to an animal rescue.

Chwatko died from cancer in 2019, and her supporters, who call themselves the scarlysquad, took over Draw for Paws. Today, the project includes over 75 artists who create pet portraits for animal rescue donations. Their work has generated tens of thousands of dollars for shelter animals and has helped Draw for Paws grow even bigger, expanding to include projects like the Grandpaws Initiative.