|Sparkles by Drew Strouble|
Sparkles the Heroic Guide Dog, a Golden Retriever German Shepherd mix, basks in the sun at her Siesta Key beach, surrounded by shells and sand.
"I guess the bottom line on all of this is that she is my hero. She probably saved my life." Bruce Cole
"When Bruce asked me to paint Sparkles, I was so honored. I of course knew both Master and Guide Dog as our neighborhood friends and loved to see them out walking together, enjoying our beautiful island. In this portrait of her, I tried to capture her smilng, utter devotion to Bruce. And in tribute to her injuries in service, I painted broken shells, still beautiful and perfect just the way they are, just the way she always will be." Drew Strouble
Giclée Prints of my original watercolor. more info
Limited Edition of: 500 Prints and 50 Artist's Proofs •
Overall size: 16" x 20" incl. 2 3/4" mat.
• Each print is hand signed, titled & numbered with matching Certificate of Authenticity.
Open Edition Mini Prints
• Overall size: 9 3/4" x 11 5/8" incl. 2" mat. • Each print is hand signed and titled.
Fine Art Greeting Card • Hand mounted Art Print on 5" x 7" white card. • Blank inside. • Matching envelope and clear protective packet included.
All prints are shrink wrapped with a white mat and foamcore backing. Designer Frames are black aluminum with plexiglas.
Coming late September 2005! Order your copy of the book and audio book "Sparkles" by Bruce Cole right here!
Order your Drew Strouble Sparkles Limited Edition Prints and Artist's Proof Prints right now! (Limited Editions do sell out - please order yours today!)
|CatmanDrew Goes to the Dogs!|
Author Bruce Cole, his new working dog, Quincy and artist Drew Strouble in Drew's Siesta Key home, August 2005.
Drew Strouble writes of Bruce Cole and Sparkles:
"It was very late at night and quiet. I was in my Siesta Key, Florida studio at my painting table, working on a commissioned cat painting in watercolor. I heard the squealing of tires and felt the impact of something being hit outside on the street in front of the studio. I heard the commotion of several different voices yelling. I knew something was very wrong. I ran outside to the dark.
"There was a Jeep still running with its light on. I could make out my friend Bruce Cole standing on the sidewalk near the Jeep. I yelled over to him and said, 'Bruce, it's Drew.' He was standing there with a broken dog leash in his hand and Sparkles, his Guide Dog was crawling back to him from the road. It was obvious that Sparkles had been hit by the Jeep and was very badly hurt. As I approached the voices, I saw a panicky man and a woman talking about what had happened. I got their license, tag and phone numbers. I didn't know what caused the accident, but my first instinct was to get Sparkles to the Emergency Vet for evaluation and treatment. I couldn't wait for the police to arrive, because I knew we had to get Sparkles medical attention immediately.
"Bruce was with Sparkles keeping her calm. I brought my car up close so we wouldn't have to move her very far. Although hurt badly, she never let out a whimper. I picked her up carefully and put her on the front passenger seat and situated Bruce in the car and made a mad dash to the emergency clinic on the mainland, which was only about a 10 minute drive. At this point it was almost 2 in the morning.
"I asked Bruce to stay inside the car with Sparkles and I ran in and explained to the Doctors on duty what had happened. They came out, made their initial assessment at the car. We knew that it was her rear hip that was hurt because she couldn't walk. She had road rash in several places. She couldn't stand or walk and her tail was really injured. I helped them get her into the clinic as Bruce followed us in.
"They treated her for shock and pain and then they took her in to X-Ray her hip and check for internal injuries. Bruce and I waited a good 20-30 minutes. The Doctor came out and confirmed that her hip was broken quite severely on her left side. Bruce mentioned that he had a Veterinarian Surgeon and he wanted to take Sparkles to his doctor. So, once we knew she was comfortable and in good hands, I brought Bruce to his home and got him comfortably settled in for the night. I got home and into bed about a quarter to four and told my wife, Kim what had happened.
"The next morning, I could see the tire marks running up onto the sidewalk and the point of impact and where Sparkles had landed, marked by her fur and dried blood. Bruce told me Sparkles had pushed him backwards into the hedge growing along that section of sidewalk. She had saved his life. I got my camera and took photos of the scene for future reference.
"Bruce called his vet and scheduled an appointment for Sparkles. We picked her up at the E Clinic and took her over to Bruce's vet and carried her in. We also brought over the X-rays from the E Clinic. The Doctor there thought the prognosis was not good and that he would have to amputate her left rear leg. Bruce adamantly did not want that done and said that Sparkles could not live like that, as she was a working dog. Bruce wanted a second opinion. We left Sparkles there to rest and I took Bruce home.
"The next doctor that Bruce took her to informed him that he thought he could save her leg, even though the hip socket was destroyed. To the best of my knowledge, she did have to have two more surgeries, but her leg was saved. As soon as she was able, she began swimming and walking therapy. Within about 6 months or so, she was walking quite well and within a year she was walking with her Bruce on the local beach to Point of Rocks and back, over a six mile trek.
"Bruce eventually moved off of Siesta Key and we'd periodically see him when he was back visiting with Sparkles.
"Sparkles passed away eight years later. I was out of state doing art shows when she died. Bruce had a beautiful memorial service for her at his home.
"In early 2005, Bruce called and told me that he had written a book about Sparkles and that it was being published by Simon & Schuster. He wanted me to do a portrait of Sparkles that would hopefully also be used for the book cover illustration.
"I met with him and looked at photographs and videotapes of Sparkles and Bruce. The one photo that caught my eye, even though it was a blurry and faded, really seemed to capture the Sparkles that I remembered. She had such a warm, loving, very intelligent and devoted spirit. She lived to serve Bruce. She lived to be his eyes. In the photo, she had dug a hole on the beach and was lying their in the cool sand with that doggy smile of utter contentment. Sparkles was always happy as long as she was with Bruce. Some of the other photos were helpful for her fur color and eye color. The sugar white sand on Siesta Key looked more like snow than sand in the photo, so I decided to put some shells in the foreground so people would know she was on the beach. But I made a deliberate choice not to have any of the shells in perfect condition, just slightly damaged here and there and a little worn. This was my painterly symbol of Sparkles - still beautiful despite her injuries and the damage caused by her accident. When the painting was finished, I was very pleased with my efforts. I called Bruce to tell him and after I had it framed, I went to his house to deliver it to him.
"Bruce already had the place picked out for me to hang the painting. Since he could not see it, I gave him an intimate verbal description of every inch of the painting. I left his house knowing I had given him my very best.
"Several days later, I received a call from Bruce's friend Daniel, who told me what a wonderful job I had done on the painting and that I had really captured the spirit of Sparkles in her prime. I was delighted to hear his compliments.
"While on their trip to New York to sign the book contract, Daniel and Bruce brought along a high-resolution image of the painting on a CD that I had provided for them. While in their meeting with the publisher, they submitted my painting for the book cover illustration. When the image was loaded into the computer and viewed on a large, high definition monitor there was an immediate, unanimous decision that it would make the perfect cover for the book. This is very rarely done by the publisher, as they have their own in-house art department. To my delight, Bruce called and told me the wonderful news: my portrait of Sparkles would be the cover of Bruce's book and audio book.
"Bruce and I decided that we'd like to share the painting with Dog and Fine Art Lovers. And so I am producing this authorized series of Sparkles Art Prints - a perfect companion to the book.
The memory of Sparkle's heroism and devoted service lives on.
A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Drew Strouble's Sparkles Art Prints will be donated through the CatmanDrew Art for the Animals Foundation to various local and national Guide Dog programs.
Your painting of "Sparkles" is BEAUTIFUL!!!!
What a wonderful work of Sparkles calm, loving, happy, warm, alive etc.you have done. Be very very proud.
Truly Donna, Jon and Pari