Dogs change lives. Just ask John Dolan.
For years, Dolan lived homeless, on the streets of London, addicted to heroin and caught in a cycle of poverty, petty crime, and abuse. However, this all changed when one day, a small Shaffordshire Bull Terrier puppy was dropped into his lap.
Realizing he had a small fur ball depending on him, Dolan started on a course that would drastically transform his life. Naming his puppy George, he quit crime, knowing he would have to give up the pup if he landed in jail again. He started training George, who was initially aggressive. As he told The Star Online, ” He would growl at you. He was also a cat-chaser and weary of people. But within a month after I started training him, his personality began to change. He became a really pleasant dog.”
Unable to land a job because of his criminal background, Dolan turned to begging in the streets to earn money to care for his pup. However, he found the experience degrading, so instead he would place a cup by George and draw the scenes around him.
Soon, he was selling his sketches to interested passerby. After gaining a local reputation for his art, he happened to meet gallery owner Richard Howard-Griffin, who asked Dolan if he could include his art in a gallery show of street artists. The show, and Dolan’s work, were a hit, encouraging Dolan to mount a second show exclusively showcasing his beginning sketches of Geogre and street scenes. That too, was successfully. An offer to show his work in Los Angeles and a book deal soon followed.
Now Dolan sells his art for upwards of $6,000 per piece, and is planning another book of drawings of rock stars and their pooches to help fundraise for a local animal shelter.
In the end, despite his meteoric rise to fame and fortune, Dolan still loves to do simple, relaxed sketches of his best friend and muse. As he says, “I basically try and capture his personality, if I can, in all of them.”
For more updates on John and George, check out their Facebook Page!