HUDSON — A sheet of paper decorated with colorful abstract brush strokes is held by magnets onto the lower portion of Lisa Morrissey’s fridge. It was Brody’s first painting just over a year ago and since then, there have been dozens more.
At first glance, it looks like the first watercolor attempts of a human toddler but Brody is of the canine persusasion. Morrissey rescued the Border Collie in October 2009 after seeing his mugshot on PetFinder.com and falling in love with him.
Brody, afraid of his own shadow and hesitant to cross the slippery wooden kitchen floor after bathroom breaks, needed a confidence booster so Morrissey started teaching him tricks. The painting is one of nearly 200 that the now trick dog champion knows.
Certificates, medallions and other awards dot the small room where Morrissey keeps her computer and a treadmill Brody walks every morning while she gets ready for work, but this time, the human and dog duo wanted to do something to give back.
Through Brody’s Facebook page, “Brody the Border Collie,” Morrissey started a collaboration with Kim Mobley, mom to 3-year-old trick dog Koby.The painting started in Waldport, Oregon, where Koby picked up his paint brush and added the first blue paint strokes.
The painting was then shipped across the country to Hudson, Florida where Brody added a few paint strokes of his own. The painting was then shipped back again to Oregon for Koby to add the final strokes of yellow and fuchsia.
After the painting was completed, it was auctioned off on eBay to benefit the Children’s Cancer Association, because Mobley’s brother had a very rare form of cancer as a baby and spent a lot of time in the hospital.
“Brody has done paintings before but never for charity,” Morrissey said. “They were always for Christmas presents or during demonstrations at the fair and he would give them out.”
The auction ended last Wednesday at $102.50 with 27 bids. In January, the team will collaborate on another painting, this time for a charity of Morrissey’s choice, and Brody will start and finish the artwork.
“It’s a good thing to do,” Morrissey said. “It keeps him painting and it’s for a good cause.”
It took about four months to teach Brody how to hold the paintbrush in his mouth, Morrissey said. She flicks her finger up and down, his cue to add brush strokes to the paper. Tthen he waits until she takes the paintbrush out of his mouth.
“He used to be famous for just dropping the brush,” Morrissey said. “Then the cats would walk through it and there would be paw prints all over the floor.”
Other tricks Brody can perform are dropping a spongy basketball through a child’s basketball hoop, playing a tiny toy piano and “praying” for his treats by putting his front paws up on the counter and bowing his head. When Morrissey tells him to “clean up your spill,” he knows to pull open a kitchen drawer, grab a cleaning cloth with his teeth, drop it on the floor and wipe it around with his paws.
“We started that because when I’m making his food, he sits there and drools,” Morrissey said.
He performs at the Florida State Fair and local events like Dunedin’s “Dogtoberfest,” garnering numerous trick dog awards. Morrissey, a certified trick dog trainer, uses him to teach other doggy parents how to instruct their canine kiddos.
Brody was a finalist on ”Good Morning America” earlier this year for their “Dog Vs. Dog Tricks Contest” and starred as the “guilty dog” in a Neater Feeder Commercial for a spill-proof pet feeding bowl.
Morrissey will hold a free Beginners Tricks Class on Jan. 11, at A.L. Anderson Park, 39699 U.S. 19 N., Tarpon Springs. For more information and to RSVP go through the meet-up group at http://www.meetup.com/trickdogsofwestpasco/.
For charities interested in partnering with Morrissey for the next painting auction, email to email@example.com.