The Original Four - Dusty, Iko, Pearl & Gracie

The Original Four - Dusty, Iko, Pearl & Gracie

September 25, 2016

I recently had the privilege of painting the "original four" fur babies of Robert and Tammy -  Dusty, Iko, Pearl and Gracie. Sadly, their physical presence has left this world, but their spirits live on. This is their story.....


Tammy first met Dusty when one of their clients brought him to the Vet's office where she worked. He had sinus issues and the family decided they didn't want to spend any more money on the care necessary to treat Dusty's sinus condition. Tammy's big heart fell for Dusty immediately and she happily welcomed him into her home. Enter Robert into Tammy's life. Dusty didn't take a liking to Robert and he had no problem showing his dislike by staring Robert down and miaowing at him. Robert is not sure what Dusty was telling him, but Robert can imitate that meow perfectly, which he describes as a terrible smoker's meow from his "smashed-in" face. Dusty would only pee on paper. And, he demanded it be changed daily. He would scowl at you if you gave him 1% milk when he was expecting 2%. Simply put, Dusty was a real pain in the ass. In the end, he warmed up to Robert and befriended a feral cat.


Iko found her people at the San Francisco SPCA. She was Robert and Tammy's first dog as a couple. Iko's energy was boundless and she lived 110% for food. She was always on the prowl for something to eat. And she certainly wasn't picky when it came to food. Iko also enjoyed running on the beach and going for walks, but no matter how much they exercised her, Robert and Tammy could never tire her out. Lastly, Iko loved food. Have I mentioned that yet? She cared more about eating than she did about her people. Iko mellowed out in her older years, but still, she looooooooved her food.



Pearl was the opposite of Iko. She loved people. Lots of people. But she especially loved her people. She loved sleeping in their bed. Snuggling on the couch. Getting attention and praise for how beautiful she was. Her eyes were always ready and willing to meet yours. She was not at all shy about asking you to scratch her butt and she was certainly the most obstinate of the bunch. Pearl had no fear and was happy to do her job as the original office greeter at Grateful Dog Daycare. Her nickname was Pearl the Squirrel.


Gracie was a cool cat. She was a rock star. She owned the block and was friends with many of the neighbors and strangers. Robert and Tammy met Gracie outside their apartment when they lived in San Francisco. They fell in love with Gracie's big and bold personality and that cool attitude, and soon, she became part of their family. Gracie loved to play and get a little frisky and once in a while would attempt to play with Dusty. He was never interested in playing. Dusty was never interested in Gracie. He might have been the only one happy the night Gracie wandered out and never came back.

Since these original four, Robert and Tammy have had many more cats and dogs enter their home and into their hearts. Including a feral cat named Maddy, who, unlike Gracie, was Dusty's best friend.