Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait
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Handy Dog News and Pet Portraits by Colleen of Just Paint It Blog

Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait

Hey y’all. Did you miss me on Friday? I missed you! It’s been quite a week, so I hope you don’t mind if I step away from the DIY tutorials today to share a little news from my personal life.

Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait

About two months ago, I received a sweet gift from a good friend. Colleen from Just Paint It created this beautiful custom portrait of Buddy aka Handy Dog for me. At the time, I was ecstatic, but little did I know that in less than a month this would be the only image I had of a smiling Buddy. Keep reading, this story does have a happy ending…I promise.

Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait

Buddy had been dealing with GI issues since the spring and our vet wasn’t sure what was causing them. He had been on a few meds (for an intestinal worm and for swallowing creek water) that we suspected threw his stomach into a tail spin (no pun intended.) As time progressed, he went from bad to worse. I knew he didn’t feel well and I could tell he was in pain. In an effort to keep from giving you TMI “to much information…thank you very much.” He ended up pushing his insides out. My sweet happy boy had slowly deteriorated and he was less and less of the happy dog we used to know. He also began losing weight.

Still we struggled to find a cure for his illness. Finally our vet recommended taking him to the North Carolina State University vet school. (We are soooo incredibly grateful that we live in the same city as this fabulous resource!) The NCSU vets ultimately decided it was best to proceed with a colonoscopy. Although the procedure was costly, it was the best way to figure out what was going on inside his digestive tract.

I was in agony as I awaited the phone call from the vet. Plus, I was mentally preparing myself for a cancer diagnosis. When the phone finally rang I could barely believe my ears when she told me that it was mostly inflammation and possibly IBS or a food allergy. But, she said he had a large polyp that needed to be removed and then sent to pathology. (So cancer still wasn’t ruled out, but it was less likely.) The surgery was scheduled for a week later.

Within days of the colonoscopy, things went from worse to really bad. Buddy was not doing well and his pain was getting worse. I called the vet school and begged them to put us on a cancellation list for the surgery. As luck would have it, they did have a cancellation and he was admitted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday he had the surgery to remove the polyp and was released on Thursday. And this is what greeted me as I was reunited with my dog:

Buddy Handy Dog | Pretty Handy Girl

I tried not to laugh…really I did. But, tell me you can’t giggle a little at this poor dog who has a gigantic cone (too big for him) and…

Buddy Handy Dog | Pretty Handy Girl

…a shaved backside with writing on the bandage. (The patch is a pain med that is slowly released over the course of 72 hours.)

Now that he’s home, he has been resting a lot. I found a more comfortable e-collar for him at PetSmart. But, I still have to put the cone on him at night and when we leave him alone because he’s quite crafty and can figure out how to get around it.

Buddy Handy Dog | Pretty Handy Girl

He hasn’t wanted to venture out much (I think he’s a little embarrassed by his appearance) but when I took him for his walk I saw something that had been missing pre-surgery. He had a bounce in his step! That’s when I knew that he was feeling much better.

Buddy Handy Dog | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m so grateful for the talented surgeon and vets at the vet school and hope that we’re on the road to recovery. (I’ll know more next week when the biopsy results come back and if he begins to gain weight.)

I’m also grateful for sweet friends like Colleen who captured my dog’s happy personality in a portrait. You can read and view her process for creating his portrait on her blog.

How you can get your own custom pet portrait from the very talented Colleen?  To start the process, visit her Etsy shop:

Just Paint It Pet Portraits

Then select your portrait size, number of animals, and the medium (Acrylic, Watercolor, Colored Pencil, Ink or a combo). Colleen will contact you to request a photo (or more) of your pet. She will create a beautiful portrait that captures your fur baby’s personality.

This was the photo she used of Buddy and the final painting:

Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait

Now our portrait is displayed in the kitchen hutch I built. The details and fine lines in the fur and his smile are amazing!

Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait

It’s a nice reminder of how grateful we are to have adopted this sweet stray who came to us three years ago. And what a sweet and happy dog he is when he’s feeling well.

Buddy Handy Dog | English Shepherd Portrait

A pet portrait would make a perfect Christmas or Birthday gift for someone! Don’t wait because her portraits are created on a first come first serve basis and this is a great price for a limited time.


14 replies
  1. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Hi Brittany! I came across your page on Bloglovin. Even though it’s a DIY blog, as a fellow dog mom & a lover of (almost) all animals, the first post that caught my eye was this one. I’m so glad you told us in the beginning that it ended happily because it sounded as though that wasn’t going to be the case. I was so sad reading about poor Buddy’s tummy problems. It’s heartbreaking to see our furry ones suffering and so frustrating & scary when we can’t figure out what the problem is! My Boston Terrier, Mugzy, has IBS but thankfully has never had a bout as terrible as Buddy’s was.
    I didn’t see a follow-up post, so since it’s been about a month I’m wondering how Buddy’s doing now. Most importantly, please tell us the biopsy results were good & that he’s gaining weight again. And fingers crossed that the IBS is under control and that Pretty Handy Dog is back to his normal, happy self! That smiley face Colleen captured so beautifully in his portrait is just adorable, and I’m hoping you’ll be sharing it with us here for many more years!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Lauren, thank you for your comment. I apologize for not updating this post. I have some sad news, the biopsy came back and he was diagnosed with a rare type of colorectal cancer. We decided to proceed with chemotherapy, but elected not to do radiation (because of the side effects) and surgery to get better margins around the tumor wasn’t an option because of the location.

      Buddy is doing really well and is taking the chemo treatment really well. So far he really hasn’t shown many side effects other than seeming a little more tired the few days after his treatment.

      THanks again for asking and I hope to publish another update soon.

  2. Janet Olson
    Janet Olson says:

    I’m so glad Handy Dog is ok. It’s torture for the human to watch a precious family member suffer. And that’s what they are. Hubs calls our dogs his Grands. Three of our standard poodles had a viral infection that caused them to go downhill very quickly to the point they were bleeding from everywhere below the head. One died. The other two were after him, we knew the symptoms and got them treatment in time, by the hair on their teeth. Best wishes on the biopsy. Fentanyl might be making him drowsy.

  3. Jo Anne Croff
    Jo Anne Croff says:

    Thank you so much, Brittany, for your great tutorials! I am so glad you gave a heads up at the beginning of this post there was a happy ending to Handy Dog’s story – whew! Best wishes to you all.

  4. jet
    jet says:

    Hi, i’m glad that you’re dog is well and this adventure with allot of pain and suffering is ended for the both of you.
    So kind and friendly of your friend to draw his portrait. I had to smile when i saw your solution of the cap of soft fabric to safe the painfull spot of bitten and crashings.
    I have made somthing simulair for my elderly cat when her eye had must removed out of her head.
    It was a very dangerous operation because of her elderly age and her kindney failure.
    So in front i have said goodbye to my old fave birmees. When i heard she was alive and i could pick her up i saw the new problem with the too tiny small plastic cap.
    My cat is allergic for plastic so the first thing was for me to free her of her plastic cap and to try to fix an other kind of cap of fabric for keeping the terrible stiches stay free of her paws, only i had know to keep her away from her cat friend that was willing to lick on the stiches.LOL
    In those day’s i was ill my self and it took many weeks to let her recover to let her refind her strenght.
    so mostly we where laying aside in my bed waiting to the nurse for me to help me with my illness.
    I was so luky to have such a sweet gp that helped me stay home during her recovering.
    When she was able to stand up on her own and could walk allmost like others i had to go to stayover in the hospital.
    but during this illness of my cat i heard only cryout of is she well , does she moves , can she eat?
    She could but an eye removable isn’t just some stiches in a tiny head.
    It’s now more then 8 months latter and i love to watch her happy running or sunbeaming laying sleeping on the heathed up tiles of my roof garden.
    The only problem she had now is me and others people and her cat friend, i had to learn that she had a blind spot so i had to be more carefull with my own movings;-D
    And as well to other people that loves her by her soft friendly way of behaviour.
    But the eye she has left isn’t so good like her cat friend has.
    so often she scarred off by this suddenly padding of strangers.
    She loves to be cuddeling and strokes, but just in an more slowly way to smell at first at your hand and then you must start on her back.
    and latter on her head.
    When she came living with me she as a kitten she had eye troubles, but an eye removing was not on my list.LOL
    I’m glad that she stand it so well the big operation and the long time of recovering, i still watch her improvings, i don’t think she will live dege’s longer but having her around me still is a big gift and watching her living with a smile is the biggest one.
    So i understand your story of your sweet dog.
    well done you both and as well with the same solution.
    mine was simpler, but she is just a tiny cat.
    My vet loved it. I had watched something similair on a crafting site and suddenly i remembered this idea.
    so when i saw in your story something similair i thought i must written you my story as well.
    I hope you will have together more years of fun and happines.
    thank you for the sharing of your story;-D

  5. vicki
    vicki says:

    I am so happy that your story had a happy ending. I was really dreading the ending. So glad that all is going well and wish for a complete recovery for Buddy.

  6. Bonnie (BornInaZoo)
    Bonnie (BornInaZoo) says:

    The same day my brother had to be taken to the ER 1.5 hours away, my black pug was walking around like she was drunk. She ended up in the vet ER. It was a stressful day because I was with Bro that bleeding internally and at that ER with him. They couldn’t find his bleed (he’s also waiting for a kidney transplant) and I had to make a decision on what I wanted to spend on my dog.

    It wasn’t cheap to make the decision to do whatever blood tests for my fur-kid. Found out that she’s diabetic & I have to give her shots twice a day. That was a huge pill to swallow because I freak out about needles.

    We’re 120 days in our new lifestyle.

    She’s my favorite dog simply because she loves the smell of sawdust.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Oh Bonnie, that’s so awful that you had to go through that. I’m so glad they figured out what was wrong with your sweet pug. She’s so lucky to have you as her mom and that you were willing to forgo your own fears to help her out!


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  1. […] a more personal note, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for Handy Dog. We did get the biopsy back and he does have a rare form of cancer. We are currently meeting with […]

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