Local artist turns her love for animals into a career

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KEWAUNEE, Wis. (WBAY) – Those of us who have pets know they are members of the family, each with its own personalities.

One local artist is using her talents to preserve pets’ memories for families long after they are gone.

With a dab of paint and the stroke of a brush Heather Wilcox sits down to work on her next pet portrait.

“The passion grew with more of the memories aspect preserving the memory of a pet or lost family member,” said Wilcox. “I love doing it, it's allowing me to provide for my family and be a part of last chapters and new beginnings for people.”

As an animal lover herself, Wilcox started by painting her own pets and eventually started doing pet portraits for family and friends.

“It was kind of just a hobby, but now it's grown into customers all over,” said Wilcox.
Over the last few years, she’s been called upon to do a number of portraits including one for a local hero.
“Charlie, he's a 5-year-old pure bread German Shepherd. He's a dual purpose K9. He detects the odor of narcotics, he tracks people off of their sent and he also apprehends people,” said K9 Handler, Brian Gale with the Kewaunee Police Department.

The police department had this portrait of its first K9 officer done by Heather.

“Having a picture like this for years to come is going to be very special,” said Officer Gale.

“This has meaning, this has memories that you can share for generations,” said Wilcox.