Bull Terriers in Paintings and in Life

A fancier reflects on the love of the bull terrier breed.

By | Posted: Wed Sep 29 00:00:00 PDT 2004

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And so it was that the oil I coveted had come to be done.

Before I was ready to fly back to Los Angeles the oil had been removed from its stretcher bars, sealed in a mailing tube and it then accompanied me, on board, back to the mainland.

In all the years that have passed since receiving the treasured gift, only three copies were ever made.  One was given to Tom Horner, who awarded it a place of honor in his home, where it resided until his death in the late '80s.  The second was a gift to Fran Cazier, my dear friend of many years, and the third to Tom Nun and Blair Shurtleff of Hana, Maui, who have shared their lives with Bull Terriers for over 20 years.

In the ensuing years I found my own private paradise in Hawaii. It is tucked safely away from the tread of unappreciative feet on Maui.  It's that exquisite patch of tropical beauty everyone calls "Heavenly Hana," and were it not for the demands of my involvement with dog activities here on the Mainland, I would be there always instead of only when time permits.

Surprisingly, and almost in contradiction of Hana's sleepy laidback serenity, Hana boasts a world class-hotelthe Hana Maui Resort. In all fairness I must say that the ownership of the hotel, and it has changed hands a good number of times of the years, has made every effort to keep the hotel environmentally appropriate. Newcomers pass it right by without realizing it is even there.

Although I've never stayed at the hotel itself, I've been no stranger to the hotel's cocktail lounge. I've spent many a pleasant evening hour there sipping Mai Tais and getting to know the town's locals.

As I talked and listened my eye was continually drawn to a huge horse mural that stretched full length behind the hotel's bar. From the first time I saw it, and for reasons which remained a mystery for the longest time, the painting somehow seemed strangely familiar.

One evening I asked the bartender where the painting had come from and he told me it had been commissioned by the hotel and done by a Hawaiian artist. I asked the artist's name and the young man walked over, read the signature and said, "Gene Young." The same artist who had done my Bull Terrier painting! 

It was only then I recalled the Akises telling me that the man who had done the Bull Terrier painting was actually well known for his paintings of horses, and the Bull Terrier painting was the only one he had ever done of dogs.

I was aware the hotel was about to undergo extensive renovating so I told the bartender I would be interested in buying the mural if the hotel decided to sell it. "Oh, you aren't the first one who's expressed an interest in it. A whole lot of our guests have," he said. "In fact, the management has decided to auction the painting off when they redo the place."

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