Friday, May 25, 2018
Pets

Ivy the painting dog will fetch a craft beer for you too (w/video)

Practically anyone with a dish towel, an empty beer can, a little kibble and whole lot of patience can teach a dog to fetch a beer.

Ivy Kite, though, will go you one better: The 3-year-old Australian Shepherd can happily retrieve the single bottle of Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper from a fridge otherwise full of Heinekens. (Even dogs know craft beer is better.)

Now, if the winds were blowing the right way, this stunt alone might launch a pooch to social-media stardom. But the trick that's liable to turn the most human heads Ivy's way involves brushes, not brews.

Paintbrushes.

"Somebody said, 'It would be cool if your dog could paint.' And I thought, why not? May be a total disaster. But why not try it?" says retired nurse Lisa Kite, as she sits in the living room of her home in Myers Park home, a suburb of Charlotte, N.C.

It's been more than 15 months since Lisa introduced the easel, and Ivy's creations are fetching $60 to $100 apiece from local, regional, national and even international fans. Last fall, Ivy was among dozens of artists (and the only one with four legs, thank you very much) who donated work to ART Unleashed, an annual art sale benefitting Charlotte-area animal welfare charities.

And it really did all start with Lisa teaching Ivy how to get a beer out of a mini-fridge in her basement, an attempt to impress her grown son with the party trick when he came home for Christmas a couple of years ago.

"A neighbor said, 'She wouldn't know the difference between beer and water,' '' Lisa says. "I thought, 'Well, I'm gonna teach her the difference.' So I taught her to get beer, water, wine or soda, depending on what you ask for. For a time, I had her getting the bottle opener if she got the beer, but she became so fond of the bottle opener she was bring it to me all the time. So I had to start hiding that."

Seeing this trick performed live is as amusing as you'd imagine.

"Hey, Ives, can you get a bottle of wine?" Lisa asks.

Ivy saunters over to the fridge, bites down on the dish towel knotted to the handle, and pulls. Her head disappears. Clinking. Then — voila — a bottle of white, with Ivy's chompers wrapped around its neck.

"Oh, perfect. You want to give it to him?" Lisa gestures at a visitor. Ivy delivers.

The party's just getting started. "You want to get a beer now?" Lisa asks. Next thing you know, their guest has both hands full.

Ivy also knows dozens of other novel commands; she can do card tricks, clean up spills, flip light switches, open and close cabinets, bring you a tissue when you sneeze, shoot hoops on a kiddie basketball goal, put things into (and take things out of) the washer and dryer, and retrieve objects based on a person's scent.

But it's her painting that has helped Ivy earn attention in circles beyond Bob and Lisa Kite's quiet little house.

"I'm not an artist in any way," Lisa says. "But I did start meeting with some artists, just because I have no idea how to mix watercolors. I bought a color wheel and tried to figure that out.

"At first I would put four colors of paint out, and let her choose her paint. But they were saying, 'No, no, if you're doing that, then the paints are mixing and it won't be as pretty.' So then I started doing one color, and I just gave her the paintbrush. Then they started becoming more beautiful."

Ivy paints for 15 to 20 minutes one day a week, typically on Monday mornings, and works on multiple paintings at a time. She can typically finish one per week. Lisa picks the colors she'll work with, but every brushstroke is Ivy's, and the Aussie signs each painting with an orange paw print.

Lisa documents the making of many of the creations on video, and posts the clips for Ivy's 8,000-plus Instagram followers to see (@ivykitetheaussie). In recent months, paintings have sold to fans in Boston, Canada and the United Kingdom.

"I use some of the money to buy supplies, and she's going to start regularly donating to the Humane Society," Lisa says. "I just think that's kind of cool that a dog is doing good for other dogs. And some cats — although she's afraid of cats."

Comments

Find A Friend: Pouncer the Kitten

In the market for a younger man, are you? This charming hottie has no credit score, but he’s undeniably alluring in premature gray. Pouncer is a 9-week old baby bachelor seeking love, companionship, conversation, and cuddles. A bad-boy to his toys, P...
Published: 05/24/18
Find A Friend: Patty the combo terrier

Find A Friend: Patty the combo terrier

Okay, so it’s not Gasparilla. But Patty’s got purpose, she’s dressed like a pirate to steal your heart. Originally named "Frozen," she held out for a cheerful name and a caring foster family. Patty’s a year and a half old, appropriately energetic, an...
Published: 05/22/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 25

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 25

Humane Society of the Nature CoastBear is a 4-month-old St. Bernard/golden retriever mix. He’s soft, cuddly and growing fast. Bear is looking for a family that wants an amazing big dog. Inquiries about adopting Bear or other dogs and cats can be made...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 18

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 18

Hernando County Animal ServicesEllis is a handsome 3-year-old male, orange and white domestic short hair. After being found injured, he was brought to the shelter for care. Since his owners have not claimed him, he is available for adoption. Ellis is...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/13/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 11

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 11

Humane Society of the Nature CoastBoone is an active 2-year-old border collie who exemplifies his breed. He is ready to learn agility, which would enable him to be a very good Frisbee or disc dog, or help herd your livestock. Inquiries about adopting...
Updated one month ago
Find A Friend: Luke, the Mastiff Mix

Find A Friend: Luke, the Mastiff Mix

Supersize that burrito, please, Luke is one beefy baby. This robust pup isn’t quite a year old and weighs a solid 90 lbs. Larger than life and always entertaining, Luke’s a lover with a smooth coat. He lives for long walks, toys, and other pooches. L...
Updated one month ago
Find A Friend: Oh Boy, the Cinco De Mayo cat

Find A Friend: Oh Boy, the Cinco De Mayo cat

Fa la la la bamba! Celebrate Cinco de MEOW with a grande adoption special: all cats 5-months and older will be offered to good homes for just $5 on Saturday (May 5). So, snuggle and play with this young chico, a 6-month sweetie called Oh Boy. The mil...
Updated one month ago
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 4

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 4

Hernando County Animal Services,Rocko is a handsome 7-year-old fawn terrier mix. He was found as a stray on Lake Lindsey Road in Brooksville and is available for adoption. Rocko is fairly calm, super friendly and loves toys. He would do best as the o...
Updated one month ago
Find A Friend: Aidan the Boxer

Find A Friend: Aidan the Boxer

Aidan may be the only sportsfan watching playoff hockey with the volume down. The all-white Boxer suffers no hearing loss and celebrates Bolt goals in uninhibited wiggle-butt glory. Aidan really loves the Lightning, just not the thunder. He’s equally...
Updated one month ago