Artist paints pet portraits to raise money once again for the Panhandle Humane Society

November 10, 2018

GERING — A pet portrait is a keepsake that brings joy year round. It is also something that can help one local agency.

Gering artist Jenifer Berge Sauter has been creating pet portraits since 1999. Berge Sauter draws and paints the pets from photographs provided by their owners. Though she can draw them from life, she prefers a photograph because it is difficult to get pets to sit still long enough for a portrait.

Over the past two decades, she has completed hundreds of pet portraits, including one year where she completed more than 200 portraits in time for Christmas. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, pigs, snakes, lizards and other pets can be painted as an original artwork for you or for a gift. A photograph, digital or print, is all that is needed.

“Digital is awesome,” she said. “Back in ’99 it was a lot more difficult because people had to get film developed and then get the photograph to you.”

For many years, cats and dogs were nearly even in the most portraits requested, but in the last few years, dogs have been the most popular. Berge Sauter can accept any animal’s picture for a portrait.

“Some people want birds or lizards,” she said. “I’ve done llamas and a lot of horses, too.”

Last year, Berge Sauter had a larger order than usual as her story for the Star-Herald was picked up and featured in the Omaha World-Herald.

“The story went across the state,” she said. “I had a ton of orders last year.”

Creating pet portraits for others and helping to raise money for the Panhandle Humane Society are two things she really enjoys doing.

“It’s thrilling for me because on Christmas Day, I think about how everyone is opening their pictures today,” she said. “That brings me a lot of joy.”

Berge Sauter normally charges $150 for an 8x10 pastel portrait. For the fundraiser, she is only charging $90, of which $40 will be donated to the Panhandle Humane Society to be used for animal care such as food, medicine or toys.

“It’s still really cheap for a piece of art,” she said.

The fundraiser is also a way to give back to the community.

“It’s the only way I can afford to give a lot of money and make it work,” she said. “And people get this awesome gift.”

Last year, she created a portrait of a calf and a lamb who were friends.

“I can do that, but they need to call and we can figure out a different pricing or bigger picture,” she said.

Larger sizes are also available as oil, watercolor and acrylic for an additional price.

Orders are being taken now through Dec. 21 if you want them for Christmas Gifts. Orders will be accepted for this special price through Dec 31. Gift certificates are available. For a small fee, portraits can be shipped to accommodate out of town needs.

“It’s always better to get your order in early,” she said. “If you need to ship it out, just contact me or the Human Society because there is a fee for the shipping.”

To order a portrait or have questions, contact the Panhandle Humane Society at 308-635-0922 or Berge Sauter at 308-631-6542, visit the Humane Society at 126 South Beltline Hwy or email Berge Sauter at jeniferbergesauter@gmail.com

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