Dog with lopsided face was bred for profit then placed in a high kill shelter—but look at him now

He's fittingly named Picasso
March 16, 2018 10:27 am Last Updated: March 16, 2018 10:27 am

Pablo Picasso took the art world by storm when he introduced cubism to the masses. This bizarre new art style abandoned the idea of perspective within a single viewpoint, showing off multiple sides of the face in a single flat image.

Cubism was Picasso’s claim to fame and he became one of the most celebrated painters ever for it, proving that just because something is a little odd-looking doesn’t mean it’s not worth appreciating. Today, Picasso the dog embodies that principle.

Picasso and his brother Pablo began their lives roaming the streets of California.

According to a video from Oregon Humane, Picasso and his brother, Pablo, were originally born in Southern California. They were bred for profit but, when nobody wanted them, forced to roam the streets. Yet, in 2016, they were picked up by a local animal shelter.

This shelter was overcrowded and had a high kill rate. Picasso had a deformed snout which made people uncomfortable and hesitant to adopt him.

Pablo wasn’t deformed but had a deep connection with his brother and couldn’t stand being separated. Needless to say, their futures looked grim.

Fortunately, Liesl Wilhardt of the Luvable Dog Rescue in Oregon was looking for dogs with special needs at that time.

“I asked our rescue partner if they had any dogs with special needs. So she sent me a picture of [Picasso] and I fell in love with his photo,” Wilhardt told The Dodo. “A couple of days later, they said ‘Oh, by the way, he has a brother.'”

Wilhardt took in both dogs with hopes of finding them a permanent home. She took photos and videos for the shelter’s website and that’s when everything changed.

Once videos of the dogs were posted online by adoptee Wilhardt, Picasso became a viral celebrity.

All eyes were on Picasso and his twisted snout. His story was covered by major news sources like Huffington Post, BBC News, and Buzzfeed.

“A lot of people I think wanted to adopt Picasso but not Pablo,” Wilhardt told The Dodo. “We knew we couldn’t separate them. They were way too bonded to each other.”

That’s when she got an awesome idea: make them therapy dogs! So she started training them. All was going smoothly until, one day, the unthinkable happened…

Pablo passed away.

🖤Some of you may not have seen our posts about our beloved Pablo and be confused as to what's happened🖤Pablo died suddenly from what our veterinarian believes was a brain aneurism🖤We asked that a necropsy be done because we needed an explanation. He was young and healthy, and his death made no sense🖤I am the one who was walking with Pablo and Picasso when it happened🖤He was out of our sight for only minutes🖤When I found him lying on the trail, he was dead and he looked like he had just fallen asleep…finding Pablo like that was one of the worst experiences we have ever been through at Luvable🖤we were in complete shock 🖤Picasso is confused and missed Pablo🖤We are giving him tons of love and attention and keeping him busy and introducing him to new dog friends🖤Picasso will continue to live with me🙂@rescuelifebleu – and continue his training as a therapy and service dog, which he loves🖤 🖤For these brothers to be separated like this is so sad, it's really almost hard to believe🖤Especially after all they have been through and managed to survive together🖤Thank you for all of your love and support…especially for Picasso…🖤#tildeathdouspart #picassothewonkyfaceddog #bornthisway #RIPpablo

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“He was literally just walking with us and then he laid down and died,” Wilhardt said.

Death was something new to Picasso and he didn’t yet understand the full ramifications of it.

“He kept looking for [Pablo] everywhere… He just kept thinking his brother was coming back and that was the moment I realized that he can’t be alone.”

Knowing this, Wilhardt adopted him into her home as a permanent family member. He hadn’t been getting along with other dogs very well since Pablo’s death but she could sense things would be different when he met her nine other dogs.

…when the bathroom starts to feel a little crowded…🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾😊

A post shared by Liesl (@rescuelifebleu) on

Picasso and Wilhardt needed each other. Around the same time, her French Bulldog, Pika, had died of liver cancer.

“Pika and I were inseparable, as were Pablo and Picasso. Then our worlds changed,” she told American Humane. “…Both our hearts were broken.”

Fortunately that heartbreak didn’t last.

Picasso became fast friends with Wilhardt’s other dogs.

Picasso quickly dropped his “tough guy” act when he met Wilhardt’s other dogs and befriended them almost instantly. His new best friend is a bulldog named Wombat who plays and snuggles with him in a relationship similar to his with Pablo.

“He had lost his brother but found his family!” Wilhardt told American Humane.

Since then, Picasso has made serious strides as a therapy dog, working with a disabled woman named Sandy.

“From the moment he met Sandy and interacted with her in the chair he had no fear,” Wilhardt told The Dodo. “She’s been there to train Picasso but it’s also really wonderful for her because she’s housebound.”

“It’s been a really motivating thing for her to get up and go out. Picasso is just a natural.”

Picasso has become an inspiration to people all around the world.

Picasso isn’t just a therapy dog, though. Ever since he first achieved viral status, Wilhardt has been receiving letters from all over the world about how Picasso’s story has inspired them.

The pup has even received a Diamond Collar Hero Award from the Oregon Humane Society. He’s also been nominated for a American Humane Hero Dog Award which polling is still open for.

“He really does touch people, especially those who look a little different like him,” Wilhardt told The Register-Guard. “Whether they were born different or had an illness or accident that led them to looking different, he’s helped and inspired so many people.”

For more on Picasso, check out this video by The Dodo.