Dog’s Paintings Raise $4K for Va. Animal Shelter

Clear the Shelters
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An up-and-coming four-legged artist in Virginia has raised $4,000 for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Under the nickname “Ricasso,” the precocious 6-year-old Staffordshire terrier sold nearly 20 pieces in his debut collection.

“Ricasso,” whose real name is Rico, had been living at the shelter for almost a year before the volunteers discovered his talent. After they noticed how much Rico liked to wag his tail, shelter workers decided to give the terrier paint to dip his tail in before spreading it across a canvas.

Ricasso of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
Ricasso admires his work.

“When the creative spirit struck him he would really get going and do three or four pieces at a time,” said Gina Hardter, director of marketing & communications at the rescue league and a self-described “assistant” for Ricasso.

All autumn long, Rico built up his body of work to the point where he can give back to the shelter that’s hosted him all this time. His pieces fetched hundreds of dollars each when they were auctioned off at a special event Dec. 6. The rescue had decided to sell the paintings after visitors clamored to own a “Ricasso original,” according to a press release.

Ricasso’s magnum opus, “Pinny in Technicolor,” sold for $600, the highlight of the night. The multicolor portrait displays Ricasso’s muse, a blue bowling pin toy named Pinny.

Ricasso of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
Ricasso of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

Now Rico may be retiring from the art world while at the pinnacle of his career. Currently, he’s splitting time between a foster home and the “Artist’s Suite” in the shelter’s kennels. But he’s also training to get ready for a new permanent home.

“He’s learning so much every day, not just how to paint,” Hardter said. “He is really enjoying his time here.”

Rico is still available for adoption. Hardter said he’s looking for a quiet home, ideally without other dogs or young kids, where he might be able to continue his craft. An anonymous donor has allowed the shelter to waive Rico’s adoption fees.

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, featuring virtual pet adoptions to make it easy for people to donate online to participating shelters and rescues.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015 and we want to add to the number.

Find a shelter near you:

  • Pasco County Animal Services, 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  • Paw Warriors, Inc., 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  • Pinellas County Animal Services, 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc, 1231 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Wesley Chapel
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc - Pasco, 8529 Little Road, New Port Richey
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, 5718 21st Ave West, Bradenton
  • Hernando County Animal Services, 19450 Oliver Street, Brooksville
  • SPCA Florida, 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  • Barking Out Loud Rescues, Inc, 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  • Precious Paws Rescue, Inc., Citrus County Florida, 5164 S. Florida Avenue, Inverness
  • Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater
  • Hernando County SPCA, 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  • Rebels Rescue, Petco 136 S. West shore Blvd, Tampa
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Friends of Strays Animal Shelter, 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  • Florida English Bulldog Rescue, P.O. Box 754, Odessa
  • The Humane Society of Polk County, Inc, 3195 Dundee Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th Street, Sarasota
  • Hands Helping Paws Rescue Inc., 53 W Bay Blvd S, Lake Wales
  • Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th Avenue W, Bradenton
  • Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services, 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  • Manatee County Animal Services, 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Citrus County Animal Services, 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • FLUFF Animal Rescue, 9400 SEMINOLE BOULEVARD, SEMINOLE
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control, 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Greener Side Haven, Inc., 3892 N Lecanto Hwy, Beverly Hills
  • Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka City

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