Service Dogs Can Inspire

When Casper gets too busy helping Dad it can be hard for him to sit down and dictate a story to us. He has been VERY tired this weekend. We are going on a trip soon and life has been upside down.

When we get this busy we don’t want you to be left without anything to read so I like sharing other great animal/service dog stories with you. Today I want to talk about this amazing artist and his service dog, Hiley.

Tommy Hollenstein was a 24-year-old  art student in California when he suffered a cycling accident that left him wheelchair bound.

“I thought that art was stolen from me,” Hollenstein recounts in this HuffPost video. “I thought creativity was all in my hands. I didn’t realize it was really hidden within.”

Then, 12 years after his accident, he was inspired by a new muse, his service dog.


Photo Credit:!prettyPhoto[Gallery]/2/

One day he decided to have Hiley walk across a canvas with paint on her paws to memorialize her. Then he thought it would be nice to add tracks from his wheelchair along side it. That was it. The inspiration came back and has not left him again.

Today Hollenstein paints regularly and has had many celebrities buy his work.  (I would love it if I could afford one myself!) He has regular gallery shows and has done some ability expo demonstrations for others in wheelchairs. His work also raises awareness about the abilities of other artists who are challenged with life in a wheelchair. His upcoming show  is presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. “Equality for All Artists” open on August 17th at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles.

Hollenstein’s paintings are inspirational, with titles like “Accept,” “Courage,”  and “Forward.” This positive attitude has inspired me to share his work with you. And, of course, his beautiful dog, Hiley.  They are both a great inspiration to many.

For more information about Tommy Hollenstein and his art please visit .

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6 thoughts on “Service Dogs Can Inspire

  1. Judith Coller August 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm Reply

    Love your blog. Love your love of Casper. Love that he does, and will improve Dan’s life. Love that you took a Puppy, Unfinished, not completely trained, maybe too young, and said ‘ We see potential here.’ Love that he’s trying so hard to be what you need him to be. Love that your blog educates us while entertaining us. Talk about a ‘Teaching Moment’. Love you all. Enjoy your vacation. Remember, It’s only temporary.

    • casperthedane August 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for all the LOVE! There is just no way not to LOVE our boy. I actually feel my heart swell when I get comments like this. I (Lauri) am about to cry!!!

  2. Hilda August 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm Reply

    Casper, I hope you rest up for your trip so you’ll be nice and rested when you meet your Nana and her little pups. Please thank your mom for the inspirational story of Tommy and Hiley; what beautiful paintings he and Hiley have made. Gives us all hope. Take care; keep on blogging! Love you, Casper! ❤

    • casperthedane August 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm Reply

      I think he will be WAY too excited to relax before meeting Nanny and Baboo (our oldest nephew is 16 and he gave them those names!), but we will keep him under control so he doesn’t go too wild. A full grown shih tzu and yorkie and a puppy shih tzu. AND a new kitten!!!

  3. Nancy August 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm Reply

    So true. Creativity doesn’t have to be with your hands your brain inspires creativity. His work is refreshing and an inspiration to many. You share very interesting and informative blogs. Thank you.

    • casperthedane August 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm Reply

      When I saw the HuffPost story I had to share it. I LOVE his art. And I am fascinated with the way our brains can see what our eyes can’t. Plus, Hiley is just SO cute!

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