LEWISTON – The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is inviting pet owners to put their furry friend’s best paw forward for a good cause.

The local animal shelter is offering “Practically Purrfect Pet Portraits” this September to raise money to purchase a new industrial washing machine and dryer.

“I think it’s about 14 years old and it has served us very well, but it’s reached the end of its life and our dryer is not far behind,” Executive Director Katie Lisnik said of their current machines. “They, unfortunately, don’t come cheap, and we’re doing this fundraiser to help offset some of the costs associated with getting those pieces of equipment replaced. That’ll be hugely helpful for us, you know, we really do hundreds of pounds of laundry every day. So, it’s something that’s absolutely vital to the organization”

In return for ensuring that the dogs, cats, gerbils, the occasional hairless rat and any number of other animals that GAHS shelters and cares for every day have clean blankets, beds and other linens, GAHS is offering purr-fectly imperfect paw-traits created by local artists for $25 a pop.

Lisnik said the staff wanted to find a COVID-safe fundraiser that wouldn’t put a bunch of people in a room.

“A lot of other shelters have done similar fundraisers and had some really good results and have a lot of fun,” she said.

The twist is that pets will be randomly matched with local artists.

“These types of (fundraisers) have been called various things: poorly drawn pet portraits, perfectly imperfect pet portraits, all kinds of little tongue-in cheek names to highlight the fact that this is a fun fundraiser for a good cause and you don’t know what artists you’re going to get (or) who’s going to do a portrait of your pet.”

There are already a handful of professional artists who have signed up to participate, Lisnick said, “and so you might come away with a masterpiece that’s absolutely amazing.”

Or, maybe you’ll come away with something a bit more whimsical, drawn by a local middle schooler or a staff member who is “perhaps more enthusiastic than skilled,” Lisnick joked.

“You’re going to come away with a unique rendition of your pet regardless,” she said.

To sign up for the fundraiser, submit your $25 payment at gahumane.org/2021/09/pet-portraits. Then post a photo of your pet to the event’s Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/gahspracticallypurrfectpets or if you don’t have a Facebook account, email it to [email protected].

The drawing, painting and scribbling kicks off Sept. 20 and a digital copy of the portraits will be available one to two weeks after that. A physical copy may be available, depending on the artist.

And if you are an artist interested in volunteering, join the 92 or so others who have offered up their artistic services by emailing [email protected].


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