Doing art for pets' sake

Thursday, February 14, 2008 | 5:54 p.m. CST; updated 2:24 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — For pet owners, a beloved dog or cat is a member of the family. That belief first gave life to the Barkley House.

Inspired by the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Barkley House will be a three-story, Victorian-style home near the MU College of Veterinary Medicine that allows owners of pets undergoing treatment at the teaching hospital there to stay close to their seriously ill animals.

If you go

What: Live auction and fundraiser for the Barkley House, which will house pet owners while their pets are being treated at MU’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital When: Reception and book signing with artist Ron Burns from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday; auction of Burns’ painting “Barkley’s House,” at 7 p.m. Where: Perlow-Stevens Gallery, 812 E. Broadway Admission: Free and open to the public

On Saturday, Arizona artist Ron Burns will be at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery for the auction of a print of his work “Barkley’s House.” A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Barkley House organization. Burns, who is known both for his work for charities and his color-rich animal portraits, will sign books and visit with guests.

A number of original works and prints by Burns have been on exhibit at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery since Tuesday and will remain on display through March 29.

Kelley Rohlfing Marchbanks, development officer for the MU College of Veterinary Medicine who is in charge of fundraising for the Barkley House, said she hopes the event will raise awareness of the nonprofit’s efforts.

“Just because they are companion animals doesn’t mean they don’t need support,” Marchbanks said. “We have seen a significant difference in recoveries of animals that were with their owners.”

At present, there is no timeline for the house’s construction.

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