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Dalmatians 4 Life Project – January 2013 Update

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM
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Napa artist makes and donates artistic birdhouses on behalf of furry friends
By Sarah Rohrs – Posted:   01/27/2013 01:00:25 AM PST
Richard-Lee Wilson faces a daily struggle with often debilitating diabetic nerve pain, and one of his chief forms of comfort is to ease the suffering of four-legged friends.
He runs a small charity called the Dalmations-4-Life project which raises money for fire departments to buy oxygen masks for dogs and cats, and he also donates his artwork to rescue organizations.
“I just want to make people aware” of the big need to help homeless dogs and cats, and to support organizations which assist pets, he said.
A self-taught artist, Wilson, who lives near Lake Berryessa, makes ornamental birdhouses in his spare time and then turns around and gives them all away on behalf of animals.
“If people hear or read about an artist making whimsical bird houses they might stop and think they could donate, too,” Wilson said.
He’s given three to the Humane Society of the North Bay which will be auctioned off during the organization’s annual Barkitecture, with this year’s theme, “There’s No Place Like a Home.”
Other birdhouses have gone to Whiskers, Tails and Ferals, an animal rescue group in Napa County, and more will be given to other organizations, too, he said.
The ornamental bird houses, (which are too small to serve as functional bird houses) are unique and hand-painted. A Halloween-inspired one is covered with a lot of creepy-crawlies while another has a Southwestern Mission flavor.
The annual Barkitecture Gala & Auction takes place April 5 with the “People’s Choice Voting” & Preview Party held March 22.
Humane Society of North Bay Director Peter Wilson said the artist’s birdhouses are a nice addition to the other items which will be part of an enormous silent auction.
Donations of art, services , products and other items are requested, he said. Those who donate will get two complimentary tickets for items valued at $30 or greater.
Wilson, the artist, said he enjoys making the birdhouses and does so mainly so he can help animals, clearly a big part of his life.
He has six miniature Dachshunds, and his late, beloved Dalmatian, Koochie, served as inspiration to raise money for the pet oxygen masks. Koochie also inspired him to make his own line of greeting cards which he sells at local farmers markets.
For his work helping animals, Wilson was honored with a “Real Heroes of Napa county” award last year. The animal masks are similar to ones for people but have longer snouts.
He is particularly interested in helping Vallejo’s humane society due to cuts the city has suffered through bankruptcy and the recession.
Before he got ill with complications from his diabetes, Wilson was a car captain and maitre d’ on the Napa Valley Wine Train, and a server at the Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford.
For more details about Wilson’s work and how to contribute go to http://www.dalmatians-4-lifeproject.com, 
or email him at koochie.wilson@gmail.com
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