she created "Whoooo's Your Daddy?” which shows an owl asking the question of some dogs.
The Flinns took in more strays, including a dog that was to be put down because a neighbor was moving into a nursing home. The dog inspired the painting "Dogs Deliver Joy.”
"She is the biggest, most joyful dog,” Flinn said.
Chasing after the birds
The list of paintings runs from "Waiting at Rainbow Bridge” and "Cinco de Meow” to "Mutt Cracker Sweet” and "Joan of Arf.”
Flinn's current favorite is "Field Frolic,” a picture she recently sold of a bug being chased by a bird being chased by a dog. It was inspired by barn swallows that followed Steve as he mowed the grass, apparently to grab bugs kicked up from the lawn.
The birds then took to swooping at the dogs, causing them to give chase.
That kicked up bugs, which the swallows would then harvest to feed their young.
It went on all summer so consistently that each time the dogs came out, "they were looking for their birds,” Flinn said. "It was hilarious.”
Today, two to three dozen animals at a time make their home in the couple's 10-acre fenced yard and 160 acres of woods, creeks and meadows. And they keep Jill Flinn busy with ideas that keep visitors coming back to her exhibits.
"Most people look in and they say, ‘That stuff just makes me smile,'” she said. "It radiates from the animals. They make us smile.”