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He Will Draw Your Dog
Artist turns hobby into fundraiser for shelters and rescues
Jack Russell Terrier drawing from 2000, and Paul Atzmiller at his drawing table.

At night, after his full-time job as a software test manager at Lockheed Martin, Paul Atzmiller makes pencil drawings of all types of animals, especially dogs. It’s been a hobby for 25 years. But in the last 11 years, that hobby turned into something more.

“Way back in 1998-99, some of my co-workers saw my animal drawings in my module at work and asked if I would draw their dogs,” the Littleton, Colo., artist says. “After drawing about a dozen or so for free, I thought maybe I could make some money for local animal shelters by drawing dogs for donations. Thus, my ‘I Will Draw Your Dog’ fundraiser was born.”
It works like this: People take good quality photos of their dog’s face, send them to Atzmiller with the name of the shelter or group they want to support, and he creates a free, 9-by-12-inch, black-and-white, highly detailed pencil drawing. He sends the finished drawing and a donation form to the owners, and, in lieu of any personal payment, he requests they make a financial donation to the shelter/group they want to support. 
It works on the honor system. There is no obligation to send a specific amount, or even to make a donation at all. And Atzmiller makes no effort to ensure a donation was sent. It’s not about policing behavior; it is about inspiring good works and good feelings.
It takes a little over a week to compete a drawing and he absorbs all material and mailing costs. “I really enjoy helping these wonderful groups and it gives me a great feeling to know that so many people who support these organizations think highly enough of my talent to pay money for my drawings,” he says.
He recently complete his 418th drawing and from what he knows, donations from his art have supported at least nine shelters and rescue groups, including the MaxFund, Golden Retriever Freedom Rescue, Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR), Have Paws Will Travel, Colorado Humane Society, Rottweiler Rescue, Friends of Retired Greyhounds, Denver Dumb Friends League and National Canine Cancer Foundation. 
He estimates he has raised more than $20,000 for these organizations, and even had one grateful dog owner donate $1,000 each to GRRR for two of his drawings.
Atzmiller hopes his fundraising concept will motivate other artistically inclined dog lovers to help their favorite dog group.
You can contact Paul Atzmiller by email at p.atzmiller@msn.com.


Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

Photo of Paul Atzmiller by his brother, Noel Atzmiller.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by karen vanier | February 2 2011 |

This is so cool. I can not wait to send a photo in of my Mazy dog. I think what he has done & is still doing is amazing.

Submitted by Deb Snider | February 2 2011 |

What an amazing talent, and what a selfless effort to help support animal rescue. Way to go, Paul! I'm forwarding this link to family and friends, as Paul's portraits would be wonderful gifts, remembrances, or simply the opportunity to have an artist's rendering of our special animal companions. And, at the same time, benefit the animal rescue of your choice. It's a wonderful idea and effort, Paul. Thank you for doing this. Now I have to get good, clear photos of my two - I would love to have their images captured by your hand, and heart. Great skill, and good work! Thank you for helping animal rescue.

Submitted by Anonymous | February 5 2011 |

Wow, this is really neat. I wonder if I should send a picture in. I love what he's doing, its so inspirational!

Submitted by Anonymous | February 8 2011 |

I am so excited and looking forward to getting all six of our dogs drawn! We have four rescued dogs in our six pack; two tricolor Beagles, a lemon Beagle, a King Charles, a Schitzu and a Schitzu/Poodle. I will donate to Animal Friends Rescue Project, Small Paws Animal Rescue Project, SPCA for Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties and a couple of others. Off we go, for our walk, on this warm and windy morning. I will post the drawings when they are complete. If you want to see our dogs, go to http://www.soniamorrison.com

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