Pets that heal: Snoqualmie artist Kim Starr, Multiple Sclerosis author Patrick McIntire share joy through art products

  - Courtesy photo
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Last fall, Snoqualmie resident Patrick McIntire woke up with a dream of a goofy little pig standing in a pool of water.

Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990, McIntire’s health has had its ups, and often, downs. Yet there was something about this vision, of a pig in a pool, that brought joy to his soul and healing to his body.

When he told his housemate and business partner, Snoqualmie artist Kim Starr, she rendered an oil painting of the pig. And then they had a big idea.

“When you are over 60 and struggling with MS, smiling is a big deal,” said McIntire. “I wanted to bring smiles to other people who were struggling like I was.”

McIntire and Starr decided to start a line of cards and prints called “Pets that Heal.”

During his battle with multiple sclerosis, McIntire researched alternate methods of healing. He has written a book about his journey, “Bouncing Back from Multiple Sclerosis.”

“The word ‘endorphins’ kept showing up. Positive thoughts, smiles and laughter can help in my healing,” he said.

McIntire hopes that Starr’s images of cats, dogs, pigs and bunnies will make viewers laugh and smile, just like a certain real kitty does.

McIntire’s 19-year-old tuxedo cat, Malcolm, brings him pleasure when he snuggles up next to him or struts around the house.

“When I smile, I feel better,” said McIntire. “Malcolm is my guy. He’s getting me through and always bringing me happiness.”

For McIntire and Starr, cats are like family. Starr has been making Malcolm homemade food for over a decade. Candy the cat has a special spot of her own on the couch.

“I have a deep connection with the animals and their well being,” said Starr. “They inspire me to create paintings and drawings.”

Starr’s images of animals all have a little twist. Instead of just drawing a piglet, Starr draws a piglet with a coin sized slot on his back smirking at the viewer, saying, “I’ve been saved!” Another image highlights Malcolm the cat catching a mouse. The caption above his head reads, “C.I.A. files (cats in action).”

“I love animals,” said Starr. “They just sort of come to you, they’re so beautiful and good.”

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