In the last two-and-a-half months, Buddy Pet Paintings has produced more than a dozen original artworks for sale, including original canvases and shirts and cards reproduced from those canvases.
The artwork features boldly painted animals with thoughts like “I like dogs, cats are OK.” Buddy Pet Paintings supports, according to its Facebook page, “raising awareness for injured, abused, and homeless animals," and 20 percent of its revenue is donated to charity.
Sound impressive? How about this: Buddy Pet Paintings is run by 8-year-old Shayna Crowley — with her mother’s help, of course.
Shayna is a young girl with a large talent that was revealed almost by accident. Shayna’s father, Richard, is a hobby painter. Her mother, Sharon Adelman, said that Shayna simply asked one day to experiment with painting.
“My daughter wanted to know if she could try painting, and so of course we encouraged that ... so we gave her a canvas and some paints,” she said.
From that experiment emerged her first pet painting: a French Bulldog sitting next to the Eiffel Tower, wearing a shirt that read “I love France.”
“It was just a really cute picture,” said Adelman. She put up a scanned version as her Facebook profile picture and was contacted by an old friend who mentioned offhand that she would love a painting for her Boxer dog. Thus began Shayna’s first commission. Since that time, some two and a half months ago, orders for Shayna’s work have “poured” in, according to Adelman.
“More and more people were asking for paintings from my daughter,” she said, “One Tewksbury resident loved Shayna's cards so much, she bought three packs to sell at her mother's store in Malden, MA called Finder's Keepers!”
Shayna was even recently commissioned by Loretta Rose, a volunteer at the Methuen-based MSPCA and the founder of Distinctly Dogs, to design a logo for her business. Rose said that she knew immediately that Shayna’s art was perfect for what she was looking for.
“Shayna’s art is exciting, positive and motivating—all of the qualities I want my company to represent,” she said.
When orders for the animal artworks continued, Shayna and her mother set up a Facebook page, titled “Buddy Pet Paintings”, where users can look through some of Shayna’s canvases and request orders.
“We got so many requests I began to think maybe we should donate some of this money,” said Adelman. They decided upon the MSPCA, or the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a choice that was relatively simple, according to Adelman. The family had been visiting the MSPCA for the last year or so in search for a new dog, and Shayna loves animals.
The MSPCA cares for animals that have been abused or are homeless and rehabilitates them for adoption, something that Shayna believes is very important.
"Every animal should have a home," she said.
Adelman said that Buddy Pet Painting is Shayna’s way of raising animal rights awareness.
“(Shayna) wanted people to be aware of the mindfulness behind taking an animal into your home because it is a life you’re caring for,” said Adelman. “Animals have personalities, have a sense of humor, and she’s kind of conveying that through her paintings.
Shayna had a chance recently to directly help dogs at the MSPCA. The 14 Pointers and 3 cats were found to be “” according to a press release from the MSPCA.
Adelman said that when Shayna heard about the dogs she “immediately” looked into donating to their cause.
“I thought that was very profound for someone her age,” said Adelman. “We called the shelter and we wanted to know how the donations could directly benefit these particular dogs.”
Mother and daughter purchased squeaky toys and blankets for the recovering animals and brought them to the shelter.
“It was really emotional to see these dogs in person,” said Adelman. “Shayna was in fact giving them their very first toys.”
Adelman said that when she and Shayna left the MSPCA that day the dogs were “happily barking.”
“Shayna just felt so proud that she was able to give joy to these dogs,” she said. “It was just really a neat moment.”
As of now, Shayna and Buddy Pet Paintings has made over $1000, and donated over $200. The rest goes to paying for supplies, and to Shayna’s savings account, which will eventually pay for her veterinarian school.
“She has wanted to be a vet since she was four,” Adelman said of Shayna.
Though that day may seem somewhat far ahead for Shayna, she will be filling her time with painting and helping animals. Adelman said that throughout the end of school, Shayna was required to complete her schoolwork and keep her A average before working on Buddy Pet Paintings.
“She's excited that summer is here so she can concentrate on her paintings!” she said. “I love that my daughter is doing this, and I think another thing that my daughter loves is that she wants to encourage other kids to find any... kind of way that they can help or volunteer.”
People who are interested in having their pet painted can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Shayna sketches up a picture of your pet from a submitted picture.