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Influence Positively Interview | Missy Johnson

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Missy Johnson is a graphic designer and illustrator as well as the creative genius behind Dogs for the PAWS, a national pet rescue awareness site that is inspiring pet lovers to rescue, foster, adopt, volunteer and love pets in need. Dogs for the PAWS is an art and education project that started with 80 rescue dogs from all around the country. Missy paints the dogs' portraits and includes their touching stories of rescue and rehabilitation written by their companions and rescuers. She offers affordable design and illustration that rescues and other pet organizations can use for their events, fundraising and social media promotion of animals up for adoption.

Dogs for the PAWS and Missy's stunning artwork have been featured in numerous printed and online publications From FIDO Friendly, DogTipper, Lowcountry Dog Magazine, Indy Tails, Wadsworth News, and PeoplePets Online. She is a contributing writer for Life+Dog Magazine. Missy lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Jim and their 5 dogs, (4 of which are rescues) Lake, Gun, London, Schooner and Wyatt Earp. They volunteer with the Carolina Basset Hound Rescue.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  My perfect happiness would be to see a solution to the flood of unwanted animals across our country and beyond . The ultimate happiness along with the perfect one, would be to have my art used as a resource for pet groups and organizations to promote their adoptable pets, promote  their dedicated work helping animals in need and raise funds using my designs on their event items, promotional materials and fundraising. Also having the opportunity to work with groups all across the country and travel to the different cities with a fun and unique exhibition to show the pet groups how to use my work as a resource would be a dream come true!

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why? I would love to be a dog, maybe a Chocolate Lab with beautiful greenish eyes that glow in the sun. I love all things to do with water and they seem to be very outdoorsy which I am too. They have amazing heart and are extremely loyal to the ones they love and that's me to a t! Also living near the beach would be my wish since I love the water so much.

What is your pets most treasured possession?  My 11 year old dog, Wyatt Earp loves his very worn and much used quilt my Sister made him. I took some of my artwork and uploaded it to a site that prints custom designer fabrics. I had a few yards made and she created his quilt that he uses everyday. My Sister recently passed away so it is very cherished.

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Your proudest achievement so far? An idea to raise awareness for the great work shelters and rescues do everyday helping animals in need, and it's called Dogs for the Paws. It was really a personal challenge to get me back into doing some fine art portraits and such but is now growing into reality with a purpose of raising awareness for  fuzzy friends in need. I would never have thought some pet art, Facebook and Twitter would change my life forever but it has. What a journey these last few years have been!  I am humbled and blessed and look forward to the future.

Who are your heroes in real life?  I have a few that make me go WOW! Rescue/ shelter groups such as the Marion County Shelter in South Carolina, that have no resources but maintain and work for the animals first and foremost is very inspiring.  Artists like international marine painter Robert Lyn Nelson uses his art to help protect the oceans and its inhabitants. Also Winter the dolphin, now made famous in the movie "Dolphin Tale" is helping adults and children with handicaps. I am also a huge fan of the international pet rescue " Puppy Rescue Mission". Through Dogs for the Paws I was honored to paint Target the Hero dog's portrait and it was PRM that saved Target. Such an incredible group doing awe inspiring work!  

Another favorite is " The Teddy Bear Project " created by a talented girl named  Maria and her sweet dog Stacey Mae. They take donations of stuffed animals and hand them out to seniors in nursing homes as well as kids who are sick in the hospital. They are Rock Stars in my world and Dogs for the Paws donated 112 stuffed animals that they handed out. So proud that we participated in this amazing project. I would love to meet Maria and Stacey Mae someday so I can thank them for their friendship and inspiration they have given me.

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