It’s no news that some animals can be artists and especially critters as intelligent and empathetic as rats. Toogood’s Tiny Paws shows just how talented such pets can be when given some paint and canvas!
Steph Toogood didn’t always dream about owning a rat art business. In fact, the origins of this project have quite solemn tones. “The idea of painting on canvases came to me after I lost one of my boys, Captain Jack Sparrow (Gibbs’ brother) last year (2018),” the owner of the rats explained on their social media. Poor Jack had undergone surgery but didn’t wake up from the anesthetic. As Steph works at the vets, she was around the pet the whole time and managed to take some paw prints after Jack had passed away.
“I thought it would be lovely for my boys to do something similar when they were with me to keep when they’re gone, so I got some mini canvases and paint, and they’ve created memorial pieces for me to keep,” Toogood elaborated on how it all started. Steph also loves to take photographs as a hobby, so she snapped pictures of her pets next to their little art pieces. After posting them online she attracted people’s attention and many wanted to own some of the ratties’ art.
Bored Panda reached out to Steph for some additional info. She has yet to respond.
Toogood’s Tiny Paws Art was created by Steph on April 20, 2019
According to the animals’ social media page, there are 12 rats in this artsy collective. Steph also wanted to stress that her pets are friends first, and artists later. “They’re my best friends, and they will not spend their lives covered in paint, no matter how high the demand is for their art right now,” she recently posted on the Facebook page. “Some of the boys are target trained and will follow a target stick or by hand to make painting easier – we even have a miniature agility course which some of them are good at!”
Steph went on to elaborate that while the Toogood’s Tiny Paws page primarily has the rats’ art on it, it isn’t the only thing she wants to focus on. “I don’t want to use this page just for their art – I aim to promote the keeping of rats as pets and their welfare, as well as sharing what the boys get up to outside of painting,” the woman explained.
Steph sells a variety of products featuring her pets’ art: coasters, keyrings, hair scrunchies, and more. However, currently, their Etsy store has no listings available. Turns out, people bought everything they had available and Steph eventually run out of canvas for the little critters to paint on! “I am making an order this week and hopefully arranging pre orders soon,” Toogood posted on Facebook.