Cancer-Surviving Pitbull Paints to Raise Awareness for Canine Cancer

Once a stray on the streets of New York, Elsie now brings a message of hope through her distinctive paintings.

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brown pitbull surrounded by red paint markings
Elsie the painting pitbull—boy, she's something elsie. (Photo: Something Elsie/Facebook)

The conventional wisdom is that an artist’s desire to create is born of some kind of suffering. This seems to be true for animal artists as well. Elsie—or Something Elsie, as she’s known in the art world—is a cheerful, talented 10-year-old pitbull who has experienced her share of hardship.

As Reading Eagle reports, Something Elsie was abandoned on the streets of New York in 2006 and picked up by Animal Care and Control. An hour before she was to be euthanized, Elsie found a foster home, and from her foster home she went to live with Tanya Turgeon, her forever human.

Today Elsie uses non-toxic paint to create paw-traits in Turgeon's Manhattan apartment, usually in the bathtub. “It takes a minute to make one painting, because she's stepping and wagging,” Turgeon said. “We paint for about an hour. She doesn't try to lick the paint.”

Elsie’s prefered palette is pink because the talented dog has survived breast cancer as well as cancerous tumors on her ears and tail. Turgeon decided to use Elsie’s painting talent to raise awareness of canine cancer as well as adoption and to educate the public about pitbulls.

The pup recently held court at a Valentine’s Day celebration at Godfrey’s Dogdom in Mohnton, Pennsylvania. The event also featured free five-minute massages for dogs, gourmet biscuit decorating and canine sampling at a “whine and dine" table.

Elsie’s energetic art, with its pawprints, sweeps and swirls of pink, are perfect expressions of love in all its varieties.

“I’m a firm believer that dogs should be part of Valentine’s Day,” said Barbara L. Emmett, owner of Godfrey’s Dogdom.


Jocelyn, All of us at Something Elsie are thrilled to have had you write about us and Elsie's work to raise positive Pit Bull awareness. However, we would like to clarify that Elsie does not paint in the bathtub. She paints on the floor "a la Pollock," and then her human, Tanya washes her feet free of the non-toxic paint in the tub which, incidentally, Elsie loves. Feel free to contact us at anytime for further information on our cause and read more at Yours Sincerely, Leila M. Nelson co-founder