The line between devoted pet owner and crazy cat lady (or dog person) is a fine one. One day you pick up a pair of cute salt and pepper shakers, and the next thing you know there are pillows, coasters, custom golf club covers shaped like your dog's head, and a full-length professional portrait hanging over the fireplace. How far would you go?
On a visit to the home of a family friend, I was shocked to discover a full-sized portrait of the family's beloved West Highland Terrier.
"It's the same photographer who took Bo Obama's official portrait," I was informed.
Of course it was a gorgeous picture of a cute and clearly much-beloved dog, but I still wasn't sold on the idea of pet portraits until I discovered the work of Valerie Leonard
, who combines pet portraiture with Old Master paintings to create elaborate, aristocratic portraits of dogs in period costumes that zoom right past whimsy and straight into mad genius territory.
A Dalmation Vermeer? Of course it's crazy, but is it crazy-awesome? Would you hang a portrait of your pet in your house? Let us know in the comments.
(Images: Valerie Leonard)