It was June 2012 at the private view of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.
A huge crowd had gathered around the podium as the competition winners were announced. My heart was beating as the category winners were read out.I could not believe my ears when my name was called out as a Category Winner and Overall Runner-up for my sculpture Huddle of Pups. I was delighted to receive my award from David Shepherd himself and TV presenter and writer, Mark Carwardine.
I am passionate about wildlife and wild dogs are my favourite wild animals. With Huddle of Pups I wanted to explore the intimate side of wild dog life, something normally only seen deep in a den.
I love the vulnerability of pups lying on their backs with their bellies exposed and heads bent at unnatural angles. They feel totally safe surrounded by a loving and protective pack. Seeing the tiny pads on their paws makes them seem even more vulnerable. All the painted dog pups in Huddle of Pups have full bellies, showing that their pack is supporting them well. They are survivors!
Painted dogs are critically endangered and need all the help they can get. This is why I regularly donate sculptures to be auctioned by charities involved in wild dog conservation, such as Painted Dog Conservation.