connectVideoSpike with his training on the road
Spike is a busy boy these past couple of weeks, taking planes, trains and automobiles on various adventures.
I’ve lived in New York City more than 20 years, and I thought I had experienced a good amount of what this sprawling metropolis has to offer. But two weeks ago, I found something entirely different, because Spike.
The association of Illustrators is a non-profit organization of artists and members with the mission of promoting the Artwork, the history, the customs, and the arts. It is the oldest organization of its kind in the world, with notable members such as Norman Rockwell and Rube Goldberg. And it is housed in this beautiful mansion in Manhattan.
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Two times per week, the association organizes a “Sketch of the Night”, which is open to the public. You bring your pencils, watercolors, oils, and/or iPads — yes, we saw a lot of iPads, along with $20, and hopefully walk away with a masterpiece. Any Sketch of the Evening has a different theme. They offer the live models, chairs, a small plates buffet, and a beautiful bar where you purchase drinks, surrounded by beautiful illustrations.
Fellow Dog puppy-raiser Jenny Sherman followed a Sketch of the Night and thought that it would be a good idea to feature live puppy-models — ideal for puppies, and for the artists. She approached them with the idea and happily agreed.
The event lasts three hours, so we had a number of shifts of dogs and puppy breeders. The room was full, so we put the dogs in different locations, so that the artists could easily see that at least one of them. Spike and I took the first shift on the stage, and his brother Swain was in a different part of the space.
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Spike and I had to be perfectly still for five to ten minutes at a clip, as dozens of sketch artists created their versions of us. We would then switch positions so she could get a different angle. The hall played dog-themed music (“how much Is That Doggy In The Window”) while everyone worked, some with a glass of wine or a cocktail at their side. It was a pleasant experience.
The Dog and their breeders are responsible for the association of Illustrators as part of a special event.
What Sketch Nights feature nude models, and I was informed that there are still more people showed up for the nights. (Don’t worry, Spike kept his Dog cape on the whole time.)
The event was also a great training for Spike. One of the objectives for the training of a puppy is to ensure that your dog will maintain a command until you give him a new contract or release him. And to the model, you must be completely still.
Apart from a few troubled rearrangements, Spike nailed his duty. He was more or less still and pose for a couple of hours, and that was great.
In addition to a good training for Spike, the artists came away with a number of fairly large pieces.
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Fellow puppy raisers Ann and Bob Benson and Jane Nagy, brought Simba, their 6-month-old Dog puppy-in-training, and he was a huge hit. At one point he just fell asleep on the stage, actually makes it easier for the artists to sketch him.
Various artists set with Spike and with the other pups and their works of art. They asked questions about service dogs and the training. It was really an open atmosphere of creativity and comradery.
If they ask Spike to come back for a naked evening I would have to think twice — but we will definitely be back to further enjoy this hidden gem of New York City.
To learn more about take the Dog for Independence, visit CCI.org.