Ten years ago, Lisa Kite, an Australian shepherd owner, brought home pup Ivy and knew she would need to keep the dog busy. When Kite taught Ivy to fetch drinks from the mini-fridge and deposit coins in the piggy bank, one of her friends suggested Ivy try painting.
Kite, 59, was so excited when Ivy painted her first piece that she would’ve thought she was walking on the moon. With a clicker and poached chicken treats, she encourages Ivy’s once-weekly habit.
Ivy’s first watercolor stroke was created using a customized brush and an easel Kite set up on the floor. After switching to Crayola kids’ paints – “I was concerned this would be a real mess,” says Kite – she now uses acrylics when creating her colorful art.
As soon as Kite launched Ivy’s Instagram story, she started receiving countless messages from followers asking about purchasing the art. “People are buying them all over the world,” Kite says. “We’ve even had a waitlist.”
Various charities benefit from the pup’s works sold via @ivykitetheaussie on Instagram for anywhere from $50 to $500. “I want the art to be accessible,” says Kite, who only keeps funds for the canvases and paints.
As a result of their fundraising during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair was able to donate 15,000 pounds. They regularly contribute works and postcards to local schools and donate goods to food banks in October; Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a frequent beneficiary, and animal charities are regular benefactors.
Kite said, “Ivy frequently sells her paintings before posting them for sale. Thanks to her enthusiastic fanbase and recent exhibition at a Charlotte hotel gallery, she has a few collectors. She seems proud and loves to show people.”
Kite adds, “I’m so proud of her; it’s been a gift. And she’s happy.”