Snohomish Fred Meyer store manager Phillip Spence hangs portraits of senior pets with Paws With Cause founder Alix Frazier. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Snohomish Fred Meyer store manager Phillip Spence hangs portraits of senior pets with Paws With Cause founder Alix Frazier. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Seniors help paint portraits of shelter animals

The works are hung in various locations and are available for sale to benefit the aspiring pets.

SNOHOMISH — The hallway to the restrooms is one of the most traveled aisles at the Snohomish Fred Meyer.

What better place for an art gallery?

It’s art for a cause, not a profit.

The colorful paint-by-number-style portraits of homeless dogs and cats are by Paws With Cause, an outreach project to pair seniors on two legs and four. Shoppers can take home the artwork for a donation. They also can contact the agency for adoption details.

Alix Frazier, a Lake Stevens tech executive, started the project two years ago to get attention to older pets in need and to give senior humans a creative outlet. She was inspired by a Facebook post she saw of two cats that needed sponsors for medical bills. An art teacher friend helped her get going.

Frazier holds painting sessions at retirement centers. Many are done during happy hour as a paint-and-sip. The centers provide the wine. She brings the art supplies and canvas.

Identification cards go with each Paws With Cause portrait at Fred Meyer in Snohomish.                                (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Identification cards go with each Paws With Cause portrait at Fred Meyer in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Using photos from local rescues and shelters, she sketches an outline of the pet on canvas using puffy paint. Residents color in the lines with acrylic paints. She said many haven’t picked up a paintbrush in decades and complete a painting in an hour. The artist has the choice to keep the work.

“It’s about the seniors and finding sense of achievement and purpose …” Frazier said. “These are precious pets that just need homes. They are in shelters because people passed away or moved away. Shelter pets are not castoff pets.”

Retirement centers that have hosted art sessions are Garden Court and South Pointe, both in Everett, Ashley Pointe in Lake Stevens and Pacifica Senior Living Snohomish.

In addition to Fred Meyer stores in Marysville and Snohomish, paintings are displayed at Peoples Bank in Everett, Bleachers Grill at Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville, Collector’s Choice Restaurant in Snohomish, Frontier Village Veterinarian in Lake Stevens, Rock Star Treatment Dog Daycare and Training in Redmond, and Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill & Irish Pubs in Fremont and the Smith Tower in Seattle.

Paws With Cause founder Alix Frazier works to hang senior pets portraits at Fred Meyer in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Paws With Cause founder Alix Frazier works to hang senior pets portraits at Fred Meyer in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Each painting has the name of the pet on the back and an adoption information card. The animals are from places including Everett Animal Shelter, Seattle’s Emerald City Pet Rescue, Pawsitive Alliance in Kenmore, Adams County Pet Rescue, Yakima Valley Pet Rescue, Old Dog Haven, Purrfect Pals in Arlington and Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation in Friday Harbor.

About 15 portraits are in the window of the Shawn O’Donnell’s in Pioneer Square.

“We get a lot of people who stop by and look at the paintings and read the story behind them,” pub manager Chase Van Cotthem said. “We’ve had a few people who made generous donations to the organization. I let Alix know when a painting is gone and if the animal is not yet adopted then one of the seniors will make another painting of the animal.”

Jon Burmeister and his wife, Stephanie, went for breakfast at Collector’s Choice Restaurant and came home with a painting of a pit bull mix named Powell.

“It reminded me of our dog that we had to put down last year,” he said of their dearly departed Sugah.“What grabbed me was they had the same chest markings.”

If the couple didn’t already have three dogs and three cats at home, they would have adopted Powell. Instead they made a donation to Everett Animal Shelter on his behalf.

The painted pets aren’t limited to dogs and cats. A rabbit joins the lineup at the Fred Meyer gallery.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown @herald Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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