Dog Portraits for Heroes

Apr 17, 2020

Dog portraits for heroes are in order for these military pet owners! I’ve just completed the 3 custom dog portrait etchings for these families (who have AMAZING stories!) and am so excited for them to be opening up their mailbox this week!

Dog Portraits for Heroes

Because I grew up a military brat, I have an idea of what our military service members AND their families go through. They can be told last minute that they need to deploy (go serve somewhere else), which can be such a difficulty with pets if mom and dad BOTH deploy somewhere different.

This exact circumstance is WHY Dogs on Deployment was founded in 2011 in San Diego, CA by hubby and wife who were both military pilots. They happened to deploy at the same time to different places, but had a dog.

Dogs on Deployment helps military pet parents two ways: 1. match volunteer boarding families with pets that need a place to go while mom or dad is away 2. provide emergency financial assistance for pets with large vet bills.

Dog Portraits for Heroes

Greyboy Pet Prints has supported Dogs on Deployment (DoD) for years by donating custom pet portraits and sharing the DoD mission: to give military members peace of mind concerning their pets during their service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources to help them.

Dog Portrait for Heroes Dog Kali

Each year DoD has a mascot competition to see which adorable dog gets voted to be the mascot for the year. Kali, pictured above (original photo by CM Bryson Photography) won the DoD 2020 Mascot title! WOW, the stories of these 3 top contestants are amazing!

Heartwarming Dog and Mom Stories

KALI and her Army mom’s story:

“KALI RESCUED ME! In July 2013, I left Japan and was sent to a Warrior Transition unit after suffering two strokes. I went to an area where I didn’t know anyone and felt as if I didn’t have a purpose. I was alone and going through a very tough time. It was recommended that I get a dog to keep me company. I was hesitant at first and went to the Animal Shelter. I saw this little pup looking at me with her little puppy eyes. She was 8 weeks old…It was an instant connection. She helped me get through a very difficult time…We spent a lot of time on walks and dog parks…

After a year in GA, we added another baby to our family: Kaos, a Pitbull. They became best friends.After two years, sadly, I had to deploy…I went through the stress on what I was going to do with my dogs as giving them away was not an option…It was then when I was told about DoD. I found a wonderful home for them to stay at while I was gone for 18 months. The foster family took such wonderful care of them, it was one less stressor I had to worry about. Kali…means so much to me for what she helped me get through and I can count on her to this day…I am so very thankful to have her in my life!”

dog portrait art of poodle

“CUPCAKE”, mom’s heart healer, is pictured above in her handmade dog portrait. 

“Cupcake, our 6-year-old beloved pet companion, has been a part of the Withers family now for the last four years…As an active duty member, I am attending a rigorous three-year program to become a Nurse Practitioner. I spent many hours finding friends or family that she could spend time with while I would be away at clinicals during this curriculum.

Ultimately, I found my true love, and we were married. Jeff became Cupcake’s daddy and was always there with Cupcake, while Army work took me away from her. While on a 10-week clinical rotation, her treasured daddy and my husband passed away unexpectedly In July 2019. Cupcake pulled me out of many a tearful day by offering herself as a loving companion in the only way she could. Through her full body hugs at my returning home at the end of each day…bringing me toys during bath time to make me smile, she has started to repair my injured heart…She brightens everyone’s day that she touches with a paw shake, a kiss, or a smile.”

Pictured below is “IKE” – he will melt your heart with those loving eyes!

Dog Portrait Art LabradorD

In Ike’s words: “My mom is Combat Camera for the U.S. Army, she deployed to Iraq in 2017. While living and working with the Coalition she met a tiny dirty, clumsy puppy living on a Peshmerga camp. She loved all people and used to run to greet the convoys every morning often tripping on the way. With a lot of help from the Coalition and Puppy Rescue Mission, my mom was able to bring Erby of Iraq to the U.S. and Erby became part of her family and became her best friend. Erby was an Akbash who loved life and made everyone she met smile and laugh. My mom decided to get her teeth cleaned one day as a routine procedure to help prevent heart disease…Erby of Iraq never woke up. My mom was devastated.

If Erby has a legacy it is that she brought people from different countries and different walks of life together. One of Erby’s Instagram followers who my mom had never met before reached out to her and told her of a young male Akbash living on a farm not too far from her who was in need of a good home…The second my mom saw a photo of my face she sprang into action and made a two hour road trip to meet me. I lost my first family and I was sad even though I was being treated very well on the farm I was living on. I am not Erby and I will never be Erby, but I needed a good home and my mom gave me a good home. Erby brought us together and we are helping each other with our sadness.”

These stories solidify what we pet parents know to be true: pets are therapy! To our military heroes, ENJOY YOUR DOG PORTRAITS to help you remember that very loved companion pet 🙂 Stay safe!

To see how these dog portraits for heroes were made, click HERE to see how an etching is crafted. They begin with a photo (usually from a cell phone), are etched to a metal plate (orange plate pictured below), inked and run through an old school printing press with dampened Italian cotton paper!

Dog portrait art lab

THANK YOU Dogs on Deployment for making sure military pet moms and dads don’t have to relinquish their pets that are their comfort in strange places and hard times!

To learn more and help Dogs on Deployment, click HERE to:
– Follow along with Dogs on Deployment’s social pages
– See if you might like to board a pet for a couple weeks or months
– Send in a donation of any amount

Greyboy Pet Prints will be donating 10% of all pet portrait commissions through Mother’s Day 2020 to Dogs on Deployment. Simply email me HERE a couple of your favorite pet snapshots and I’ll suggest the best image for an etching.


  1. Kelly Middlebrooks

    You do such beautiful work. I know these dog moms love their prints, and Dogs on Deployment is lucky to have such a wonderful sponsor.

    • Mandi

      Thank you, Kelly! I love what Dogs on Deployment does and they are a joy to partner with!

  2. Alisa Johnson

    Love this! Thank you for all you do to support Dogs on Deployment!

    • Mandi

      You’re welcome! Keep up the great work!!!


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