In 2011 Hurricane Irene severely damaged many parts of Vermont. In typical Vermont fashion, the citizens set to work repairing their state. Rutland residents Eric Mallette and Lyz Tomsuden created this now iconic image — a black silhouette of the state over green with the words “I am Vermont Strong,” emblazoned in white — with the, “simple intention of producing good energies out of the disaster.”
On March 13, 2020, when Vermont’s governor Phil Scott ordered us to stay Home and Save Lives, I remembered the Vermont Strong slogan and adapted it to a Rufus Card. I have been using my border collies as characters since at least 1980, so this wasn’t a surprise.
A small selection of the 100s of Border Collie images I have painted over the years.
After Vermont, I began to paint other states–states where I have friends and relatives, states that are experiencing terrible outbreaks, states that need cheerful encouragement to follow quarantine rules.
I felt it was important to to include areas of the US that aren’t technically states.
Rufus can be quite bossy and he and his friends repeat the mantras of these strange times:: Stay Home, Wash your paws, Wear a mask, Vote by Mail!
Eventually my bulletin board was full, from west to east, from north to south, every state, district, at least one nation and territory.
Finally, Rufus embraces the entire country. This one is called “No borders, just a Border Collie.”
Who wouldn’t want to listen to this guy?
All the images are available as giclee prints on my