People around the world have fallen in love with the talented canine artist.
Van Gogh, the dog, creating a masterpiece paining outdoors on his deck
Credit: Courtesy of Happily Furever After Rescue

What started off as a tactic to help Van Gogh the rescue dog get adopted has turned into a global sensation. 

Before being rescued, Van Gogh was used as a bait dog in a dogfighting ring. Because of severe injuries, one of his ears had to be removed. 

In June, Van Gogh traveled in style via a private plane from North Carolina to a foster home in Connecticut, where he was taken in by Happily Furever After Rescue. Jaclyn Gartner, founder of the rescue, tells Daily Paws that she "instantly fell in love with him." 

Even with his past trauma, Van Gogh loves people and is "sweet and very affectionate." At the age of 7, Gartner says Van Gogh is very easygoing, but he still gets the zoomies every once in a while. But because of Van Gogh's background as a bait dog, Gartner says it was a challenge to have him at adoption events because he is dog selective.

When trying to think of ways to get potential adopters interested in Van Gogh that didn't involve other dogs, Gartner came up with an idea that honors his namesake: painting. 

Gartner got the idea from a TikTok trend where pet parents put a blank canvas dolloped with paint in a plastic bag smeared with an enticing snack, like peanut butter or wet dog food, and have their dogs lick it off to create a personalized work of art. Gartner tried it with Van Gogh, and it was a success. 

Van Gogh racked up ten pieces of original art, which sparked an idea in Gartner to host an art sale at the pup's foster home. The event would allow potential adopters to meet Van Gogh in his safe space while allowing them to support the shelter by purchasing some art. With lots of marketing and support from the community, Gartner had hope that the event would be a success. Unfortunately, only two people showed up.

Gartner was disappointed with the outcome but didn't want to give up on Van Gogh's art just yet. She posted on the rescue's Facebook about the remaining art pieces, and shortly after, Van Gogh's story started going viral. People from around the world were interested in the talented dog's work. His most requested piece, Gartner says, is his Starry Night re-creation. 

With such high demand for Van Gogh originals, Gartner decided to hold an online silent auction where people can bid on his paintings with all proceeds going to the rescue. The auction goes live Nov. 11. 

With all the newfound interest in the pup, the talented boy was recently able to go to a foster to adopt situation, which means he is settling into a new home that will hopefully end up being his forever home. Gartner said so far, everything is going well. While Van Gogh's potential owner is local, he also has prospects from nearby states. 

"My intent for this event was just to get this amazing dog a home," Gartner says. "And with all the exposure he's gotten from this, we've had people from everywhere looking to adopt him. I mean as far as California and Canada, people are saying I'll get in my car right now, I'll come and get him.

"This all ended up working in his favor, even though at the time it was such a disappointment. Now it's become like our greatest blessing," Gartner says.