BRATTLEBORO — Lina DeAngelis, 8, has five pets at home — two cats, two dogs and a rabbit, plus a guinea pig at her grandmother’s house. So she’s no stranger to what goes into caring for animals.
This is why, after raising money for Windham County Humane Society through school and extracurricular activities, she wanted to do more for the organization.
The third-grader at Academy School has been drawing pet portraits for $15 each to raise money for the shelter. So far, she has raised $275, and now has four portraits on order, which will be another $60.
She draws on 5” x 7” canvases with artist-quality markers. The brightly colored drawings have a cartoonish charm, whimsically incorporating aspects of the animals’ (and their humans’) lives. Lina said she asks her clients for information such as their favorite color and their pets’ favorite toys or blankets. One portrait shows a cat as a rock star with a guitar, because the human is a musician. In another picture, a dog named Paris is drawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. And in another, a dog that is no longer with us is depicted as an angel, with a favorite toy sheep, also an angel.
“It’s different than selling raffle tickets or something. She gets to really do her personal touch,” said Lina’s mother, Amity DeAngelis. “She really does try to make it connected to the owner’s life somehow, or to the pet’s life, and make it more personal that way.”
Amity’s parents, Sue and Jeremy Aldridge, are both artists, and when they look after their granddaughter, art is a big part of what they do.
“It’s kind of hard not to get into drawing when they have 10 million arts supplies at their house,” Lina said.
Lina already has an artist’s perfectionism — sharing her drawings with Vermont News & Media on a recent day, she noted ways she wishes some details came out differently.
“She works harder on the pet portraits than on her drawings for fun,” her mother said. “And it’s always exciting to go drop the money off at the humane society.”
Maya Richmond, executive director at Windham County Humane Society, said as a locally funded charity, it means a lot when someone hosts a special fundraiser or uses their talents to benefit the organization.
“It helps in multiple ways,” Richmond said. “It generates money to feed the animals and care for them. But it also creates a public awareness and, possibly, reaching people that we wouldn’t be able to reach ourselves. So I really think it’s phenomenal. I appreciate everything she’s doing.”
Richmond said the shelter not only takes in the animals and gets them ready for adoption, but also has veterinary services for financially strained pet owners.
“So every one of those services counts on donations,” she said.
While Richmond has yet to meet Lina in person, she is a fan of her work.
“I’ve seen her work,” she said. “The work was gorgeous.”