Brooklyn artist raises $11,500 for animal rescues by drawing pet portraits

A Brooklyn artist has combined her drawing talent and love of pets to help out and spread cheer during the pandemic.
Artist Laura Connelly says her dog Lenny is her best friend, so deciding to do free pet portraits as a pandemic fundraiser was a no-brainer.
"I was thinking of the way to do something good when I came up with this, it just felt so right,” says Connelly.
News about the pandemic was flooding her social media and she couldn't take it. She decided for a day she would give away free pet portraits on Instagram.
"I think seeing them in the form of artwork, seeing them a little bit differently, it just brings a smile to your face, especially if it's your pet,” says Connelly.
She says the response was overwhelming. She extended the free pet portraits for a few weeks, adding the option to contribute to a GoFundMe for local animal rescue organizations with a goal of raising $500.
"Rescues still have to find their homes, and I’m happy they're fostered, but you know it's not long term,” says Connelly.
She says that's when things took off, reaching her goal in just two days. People across the world, including front-line workers, wanted their pets drawn.
"The doctors would tell me about their day and how terrible it was, how difficult it was, this was something they were looking forward to receiving,” says Connelly.
She created more than 1,200 pet portraits for people across the globe and raised more than $11,500 for animal rescues, drawing for nearly 15 hours a day by the end.
Connelly now draws a pet each week that's up for adoption to help a local rescue.