The world can be a tough place.  We often build invisible barriers to keep people at arms reach.  We refrain from showing genuine emotion out of fear of judgement or projecting vulnerability.  But, every once in a while you meet people who instantly disarm you.  Sometimes the compassion and generosity of people catches you off guard.  Sometimes a total stranger can make you feel right at home.  Sometimes, when you think people have done so much to help already, they do more.

This was the case with the Creative York members and Michele Ports Gargiulo, AKA “Michele the Painter.”  What she did wasn’t even on Mister Molson’s bucket list.  Honestly, other than my old Army buddy Scott Meier, I didn’t even know anyone that painted portraits.  I’m kind of ashamed to say that I hadn’t thought of this one.  But, it certainly deserves a bucket list item of its own.

We met at the Creative York Chilly Bowls fundraiser.  I learned of her passion for dogs and listened to the stories of the many dogs she has rescued and had to say goodbye to. I thought she was just supporting local arts and maybe even hoping to meet Molson.  But, there was more to this story.  It turns out that she is highly involved in the local art community and teaches “Paint your Pet” classes.

Photo Credited to “Michele the Painter
Photo Credited to “Michele the painter”


Susan Scofield from Creative York reached out to her when setting up Molson’s Bucket List item #31 “Eat an entire Ice Cream Sundae” to see if she wanted to be involved.  It turns out Michele saw Mister Molson’s story on the news and had already painted a portrait of him and was looking for a way to get in contact with us.

Susan and Michele each have a long history of helping animals.  Susan worked in the pet store industry for years and Michele works with charities to help rescue dogs.  So, they both worked together to help out this old dog from Red Lion.  After hanging out for awhile and watching Mister Molson enjoy his ice cream sundae, they had another surprise for us.  Michele presented me with the portrait of Molson!

Then, Susan from Creative York presented me with the gift certificate for Molson’s dog art party.

I was surprised that they were willing to do so much for Mister Molson and our family. I mean, we were just there for some ice cream.  This was the cherry on the sundae so to speak.

The painting highlighted his bright smile and even a bit of a crooked nose.  It is perfect!

Thanks so much Michele for doing something that must have taken a lot of time, material, and energy for a total stranger.  I really appreciate what you have done and I encourage you to keep doing the great work you are doing for pets and their families.  The painting will proudly hang in our house forever.