Lovers of both dogs and art will be as saddened as we are to hear that Piper the One-Eyed Painting Bulldog passed away on Friday.
Jessica Stone, the artist who adopted Piper and helped launch her into an art career of her own, wrote on Piper’s Facebook page:
I thought today’s post would be a happy one about Piper’s new special needs brother Ogden. Instead, I’m sharing the most heartbreaking news on the worst day of my life. Piper passed away in her sleep last night. Everything was normal at bedtime. She was spunky with a full appetite, but was gone when we woke up. Jeff and I are broken. My world revolved around Diva Piper. My life will be so empty without her.
Stone’s grief will be shared by fans of Piper’s life and artwork, which number more than 90,000 on Facebook alone.
The English Bulldog had been struggling against heart disease and cancer, according to Stone, and they finally caught up with her. Stone says that despite many health problems, Piper was a joy to be around.
“She was a remarkable 12-year-old dog who walked with a limp and had terrible hip dysplasia and arthritis,” Stone said in correspondence with Dogster. “Before San Antonio Bulldog Rescue saved Piper, she suffered eight years of being mistreated and neglected. Yet Piper was able to lift even the heaviest of hearts and help other rescue dogs through her artwork and adorably grumpy personality.”
When Pamela Mitchell wrote about Piper for Dogster in 2012, Stone described how she went from being an ordinary dog to an artist:
“I never taught Piper anything. Whenever I would go into my studio to paint, she would run in after me. The only other thing she runs for is food, because she has horrible hip dysplasia. She would just sit there for hours and watch me paint.
“After about six weeks, I said to my husband, ‘I think she wants to paint.’ So I stuck a brush in her mouth. She sat there with me, didn’t run away. It seemed like she was having fun.”
The rest, of course, is history. Piper began putting out colorful pieces of abstract art (with Stone holding the paper and advising on color choices), which were sold in her Etsy store as originals and prints. Even her used brushes went for up to $250 at auction for charity. In fact, much of the income from her sales went to charities. The most well-known of her causes was San Antonio Bulldog Rescue, the organization which originally brought her to Stone for adoption, but her fundraising went far beyond that.
“A lot of people think Piper just donates to San Antonio Bulldog Rescue,” Stone told us. “Piper donates products to nationwide rescues, Wounded Warriors, and children with cancer. She has made monetary donations to various rescues and donates a portion of her sales to SABR. People would be surprised to know that between Piper’s monetary donations and product donations, she has raised tens of thousands and, I think, at least $10,000 within the last year.”
Stone plans to continue selling her work, as well as the dog biscuits Piper’s sensitive stomach and love of food inspired, so that donations can still be made to animal rescues in her honor. She also will continue to share photos of Piper and her siblings, fellow rescue Bulldogs Miyagi and Ogden, on Facebook. “I hope “handicapable” Ogden will help keep Piper in hearts forever and continue her cause,” she said.
Our deepest condolences go to Piper’s family and all others who loved her. She will be be missed.
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