I earned my yawns, eye-rubs, and dehydration today. Last night my husband’s art opening turned into a fundraiser for our dog, Iggy Pup, and all of our hard work paid off!
Anthony Verberick of Macha Teahouse + Gallery said it well, “I love doing art shows like the one tonight. People stopping in groves to support friends and local artists. Everything in life that is awesome is all because of the artists, dreamers, and thinkers.”
What was the big deal?
We found out in October that our two-year-old dog – a skinny white rescued mutt that could never gain weight but was the fastest and sweetest dog at the dog park – needed surgery. It turned out his body wasn’t digesting his food because his stomach, pancreas, liver, and intestines were all in his chest due to a traumatic diaphragmatic hernia. Yeah, put your left hand on your belly and the right on your chest. Everything that should be where your left hand is was where your right hand is. There was no question: Iggy Pup needed surgery.
“Well, my show just so happens to be all dog paintings and drawings this November,” my husband reasoned while we digested the news over lunch at Mickey’s Dairy Bar. “We’ll just turn it into a fundraiser for Iggy’s surgery.”
And so the project was born which through some heavy suggestions from friends, created the Iggy Pup Surgery Fund Facebook page as a hub for all related information. There I could post the updates on Iggy’s health, Dave’s artwork, and so forth. What really got the ball rolling was a phone call from a good friend now in Logan, Utah. Joseph Pesina is an incredible success story in himself which I’ll have to assign to another blog post. He’s an extremely big-hearted little potter who said, “I want to donate about six or seven of my pieces for a silent auction to help raise funds for your surgery. If that’s OK with you?”
After posting big props to Joe for such a generous idea and offer, more artist friends stepped forward with similar offerings. Dave started drawing images of Iggy and designed our fund logo. It seemed to be a huge hit instantly to the now growing fan club for our mutt dog. Our neighbor took a photo of the logo and poured her heart and soul into a precise stencil for me so I could make money off of t-shirt sales. I just so happened to have a big box of ladies organic hemp/cotton blend t-shirts in storage from my old boutique days. Another friend suggested we start a redbubble.com site with Dave’s Iggy Pup images so friends and family members from out of town could still contribute through purchases of anything from stickers to hoodies. Dave thought we should still have unisex t-shirts printed for the event so we consulted our friends at Screen Door Studio on Willy St and they jumped onto our request with professionalism and generous heart. Other friends and new fans requested to just send money, so I opened a public-contribution savings account with smartypig.com so everyone could see out fundraising progress. And so a many-tiered fundraiser project was born.
Last night, Friday, November 15th, from 6PM to 8PM, Macha Teahouse + Gallery on Monroe Street in Madison was packed with people ready to spend their cash to help out our little cause. Now sitting on my futon mattress still on the floor in the middle of our living room, I can reflect on that amazing two hour event.
Dave set up the silent auction in a large tearoom upstairs. We had everything from block-stamped dish towels to vases and tea bowls these bidders should consider wise investments. Award-winning ceramicists contributed heavily and it did not go unnoticed.
I set up a mini-store at the front of the space with all of the Iggy Pup merchandise. We had stickers from our redbubble.com site, hand-stenciled dog bandanas, two different styles of t-shirts, and block-stamped cards. The lines formed quickly and didn’t dissipate until nearly closing time.
People stood in awe and gawked and David Nielsen’s paintings, including his work partner who was shocked at how much work he did after already putting in long hours at their day job.
My cell phone buzzed with texts and voice messages of anxious bidders. Hugs and shameless praise for our sweet pup showered over all of the frenzied activity. Even the head surgeon himself, Dr. McNulty showed up with his wife and sweet daughter. My friends witnessed me instantly blush and stammer with admiration and blubbering worship. He has no idea how much he changed our world for the better. No more vomiting. No more panicked rushes outside every two hours. No more need for a lifetime supply of incense and floor soap.
So here I sit, finishing this blog post as my husband answers the door for our pizza delivery. We earned this day of laziness. We’ve worked our tail ends off for a full month and the art opening is now over. Only a few auction items sit on our dining room table awaiting payment and delivery. We can sleep in tomorrow, even though a small spot in our guts reminds us that this fundraising effort is not over. We have six months interest free to pay off our debt to the UW Veterinary Learning Hospital and there is much owed. But for now we can enjoy the after party buzz and pride that we live in a warm and supportive community where the artists united like a band of super heroes to honor the survival of one noble and resilient canine. And our dog is so grateful too.
Special Thanks to the following incredible people and businesses:
Aubrey Purdy Rude
Truesdell Animal Care
UW Veterinarian Learning Hospital
Bad Dog Frida
Macha Teahouse + Gallery
Fresh Is Bes
100% Recycled Dog