Here is a BEFORE AND AFTER comparison of Max. The owner's request was for a traditional style pet portrait that would stay true to her beloved pet.
You can zoom in on the final pet portrait on the right to see the detail, while then comparing it by mousing-over the original image on the left. As you can see, rebuilding a photo is a major part of the job. After eliminating the background and Max's collar, I then added a custom color requested by the dog's owner. Only then was I able to begin the painting.
Thankfully, I was given some other photos that helped me to see the eye color & structure. I often receive images that are less than ideal to work with, but using the technology available to me, I am fortunate to be able to "bring back to life" a loving pet in the form of a true-to-life pet portrait.