Therapy Dog portrait unveiled at luncheon
Weisenberg Township resident Carolee Smith brought Dutch, her Therapy Dog, to a hospice luncheon where the painting of the dog was to be unveiled.
Dutch was the first dog welcomed to the Inpatient Hospice Unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital, 17th and Chew streets, Allentown.
The painting was created by Marion Sheinberg, a Macungie artist who specializes in pet portraits.
She read a story in The Press about the dog when he was the subject of a talk before the Weisenberg Lutheran Church Women's Group.
"It brought me to tears. I never met the dog," she said.
"Oh, he is gorgeous," Sheinberg said as he and Smith walked into the hall at Monterre Vineyards, Orefield, where the luncheon was held.
The watercolor was done from photographs provided by Smith.
When Sheinberg's father was diagnosed with cancer, she, her mother and sister were his caretakers.
"We were all frazzled," Sheinberg said. A friend suggested they call hospice for help.
"We will handle everything," the hospice volunteer told the family.
Sheinberg said for two-and-a-half months, it seemed as if hospice had been sent from heaven.
"They knew who and when doctors or nurses were needed," she explained.
Four years later, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and the help was again available.
When she heard about Dutch, it seemed like a good way to give back to hospice.
"We were both excited about a picture," said Sheinberg adding, it took two months to complete the painting.
Smith said she had lunch at Sheinberg's house and the two women bonded and became good friends.
"[The portrait] is for me to honor hospice and Dutch for the work he does," Sheinberg said. "I did the painting and Carolee had this gorgeous antique frame. We took it to the Art and Frame Shop in Allentown.
"The gold leaf was carefully replaced where it was missing and the framing was done.
Smith said the frame had been in her attic for years. She bought it at an auction with no use in mind, but then it was there when the use was found.
As the red velvet cover over the portrait was finally removed, and Dutch's image was revealed, "oohs" and "aahs" of approval could be heard coming from members of the audience.