Sadly, many animals end up living in animal shelters, and there are many reasons for this. Some causes included the death of their owner, an owner that cannot afford or is unable to care for their pet, animals that have been neglected or abused, and those who have simply become separated from their owners. Many rescue shelters suffer from serious overcrowding, and most have financial struggles. Running a shelter is an expensive business, and it is not only food for the animals that the shelters need. They also need to pay for bedding, heating, water supplies, and medical costs for sick or injured animals.
In most cases, rescue shelters rely entirely on donations from animal lovers. There are also many organizations that support the work of rescue shelters and offers funding for supplies. I Heart Dogs is one such organization, as it donates a percentage of every sale from their online shop to shelters and other animal causes. They even let visitors to their website know how many meals they have donated and what purchasing an item will mean for the shelter.
Funding and donations do not only come from businesses, charities, and organizations, though. Kindhearted individuals can also play a part in funding or supplies for rescue shelters. This can come in the form of personal donations of money, food, or bedding, or from running fundraising events. One person who cared enough to make a difference in the lives of animals living in rescue shelters is nine-year-old Pavel Abramov. The young boy lives in a small city called Arzamas. This city is located next to the Tyosha River in Nizhny Novgorod in Russia.
Even as a young child, Pavel had always been an animal lover. He showed a creative gift from being little, and his favorite subjects for painting were cats and dogs. A year ago, Pavel’s dog died. It was then that Pavel noticed that there was a large number of stray dogs in his neighborhood. He thought that it was heartbreaking that they were living on the streets and wanted to do something to help them. Other than animals, his main passion was art. Pavel decided that he could put his artistic talent to good use in a way that would help the poor strays. He began painting custom pet portraits for animal lovers. Instead of asking his customers to pay for the pet portraits, he asked them to contribute pet food and supplies. He even gave his project the name ‘Kind Paintbrush’.
Customers have given food, leashes, collars, bedding, and even medication. Everything that Pavel receives, he takes straight to the only rescue shelter in his hometown. This shelter has over 100 dogs in their care. The amount of supplies Pavel receives for his work varies from one portrait to the next. For example, when he painted a portrait of a dog called Chuck, Chuck’s owner gave him some skin medication, 10 cans of dog food, and five kilograms of buckwheat, which the shelter can use as cat litter.
When he painted a picture of a grumpy cat called Ksyusha, he was given canned dog food, six kilograms of buckwheat, some medication, and some bandages. A particularly generous donation came from the owner of a long-haired Chihuahua called Onyx that Pavel painted. That lady gave him cleaning supplies, 2.5 kilograms of oatmeal, three kilograms of canned dog food, four kilograms of pearl barley, and a selection of dog treats.
For other portraits, he may only receive a single donation of various values. When Pavel painted a trio of pets for their owner, he was given 15 kilograms of beef trimmings. Although this was only one item, it would make a big difference to the shelter and was a real treat for the dogs living there. Pavel doesn’t mind what people donate for his work as he knows that every little will help. Although the supplies he receives are to help cats and dogs living in the local shelter, Pavel doesn’t limit the portraits he creates to one of cats and dogs. He is happy to draw any animal in exchange for donations for the shelter. He has even painted a cute pair of guinea pigs for their owner.
When he first began doing the portraits, it was only for people in his local area. However, word has spread about his creative talents and the fact that he does the portraits for a good cause. Now, he has people from all over Russia contacting him to ask if he will do a portrait of their beloved pet. He has even been contacted by some people from further afield, as he has created portraits for pet owners in Spain and Germany.
Surprisingly, the talented young artist does not need to meet the pets to do the portraits. He usually works from a photograph of the pet. Pavel particularly enjoys painting rescue animals, and he loves to hear their stories. Once he has completed the portrait, he often gets to meet his subject and will have his photograph taken holding the portrait against the pet. Pavel’s other, Ekaterina Bolshakova, is extremely proud of her son. This is not only because of his artistic talents but also because he is kind enough to give his time to help animals in need. She documents all his work and their experiences on the Russian social media site VK.com. In English, the name of this page means ‘What Can a Little Volunteer Do?’.
Ekaterina has described her son’s project as wonderful and says that everyone in the family is very proud. She said her son is such a lively and enthusiastic boy that there is not enough time for him to do everything that he wants to achieve and that he measures his days in minutes. For such a young boy, he has made a significant difference in the lives of many dogs in need in his area.