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For Buffalo painter Jacqueline Welch, dogs are saintly creatures deserving saintly reverence. Her long-running series of devotional oil paintings depicting canines in holy poses, sporting halos and infinitely wise expressions, has been exhibited in several local galleries. Some of the latest paintings in the series will go on view in “Dog Devotionals,” opening at 5 p.m. today in the Dolce Valvo Art Center at Niagara County Community College (3111 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn) and running through Feb. 28.

Welch imagines each of her subjects as representing certain human conditions or aspirations, in the tradition of Christian saints. Her newest work references the increasing use of dogs in health care.

“My lifelong interest in the connections between dogs and humans has led to concern for struggles across the United States to establish no-kill shelters, the rise in abandoned pets and the placement of dogs into research labs. Lately I am aware of the new work of dogs in ambulatory and literacy therapy, diabetic, seizure and cardiac alert among others,” Welch wrote in a statement. “In my paintings I advocate for dogs and their right to be lifelong companions. My art practice is narrative: the dogs become patron saints that represent a human idiosyncrasy, or the hero figure of a miraculous event.”

Gallery admission is free. Call 614-5975 or visit niagaracc.suny.edu.

– Colin Dabkowski