Many of us have seen them: the pet murals on walls around the Tampa area.
And now, for the first time, the artist is sharing the stories behind the pet portraits.
Anna Hamilton has murals in Tampa, Dunedin, Largo, St. Pete, and Gulfport.
The public art project began on walls here-and-there around the Tampa Bay region a few years ago, and eventually turned into Murals for Mutts, a wonderful, 501c3 that helps pet rescue organizations and animal owners memorialize their pets (or as I call them, children) by donating money back to different welfare groups with each mural.
People were so happy to have their pet's portrait on the wall that they'd stop the artist while she was painting to thank her and share little memories or stories about their beloved animal, many of which have passed away.
People would talk to Hamilton with tears in their eyes or smiles on their faces. She said it seemed like a healing process for the pet owner. So she knew it was a part of something they needed to share.
And as Murals for Mutts' reach expanded, the more peoples' stories kept coming.
Hamilton realized she was doing more than memorializing their pet, she was helping the person on the inside as well. And she wanted to do more. So she and the Murals for Mutts team got together and started collecting the stories that touched their hearts.
With the help of Tawny Castle, volunteer writer-editor, and Vera Porter, volunteer designer and web guru, Murals for Mutts launched a new blog called Mural Moments: The Stories Behind the Paintings for sharing all the touching pet stories with everyone.
If you have a pet portrait on one of the walls, please email your story and picture to Murals for Mutts.
Visit the blog Mural Moments online, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are waiting to hear and share your stories.