Napoleon, Conqueror of the Heart

French conqueror Napoleon Bonoparte said “A picture is worth a thousand words,” whereas California canine Napoleon knows a picture is worth a thousand sniffs.

In Napa Valley California, artist Nancy Flores enjoys painting in the company of her 14 year old Papillon named Napoleon. Specializing in oil paintings featuring movement and dance, Napoleon is the only canine subject seen in her artwork. With his large butterfly-like ears Napoleon brings a special sweetness to her passionate and engaging paintings.

Nancy has been a professional painter and dancer her entire life. Having skated with the Ice Follies and competed professionally in International Latin Dance, she has won a U.S. Latin Dance title. Today Nancy still coaches Latin and enjoys quality time with her husband Mark and, of course, Napoleon.

Napoleon loves to be held by Nancy, but when it is time for her to paint he knows his job is not to disturb but to observe. He keeps Nancy focused by staying in the studio while she paints, observing her every movement and relaxing in a pile of her old clothes - his favorite place to keep her scent near while waiting to be back in her arms.

After being adopted from a negligent household when he was nine months old, Napoleon used to accompany Nancy rollerblading and hiking. Now he sleeps most of the day and follows Nancy to every room, everywhere, every time, napping between destinations. If Nancy is gone for a day he pines for her at the door, and after 24 hours he becomes her husband’s shadow, but the moment Nancy returns Mark is dropped like a hot potato.

Napoleon lives a lavish life, he enjoys regular boat rides on a beautiful lake while napping on Nancy’s lap, and he is treated with fresh water from a glass. He has grown so accustomed to fresh water in a glass that he no longer drinks from a bowl, “I can’t have water on my night stand because in the middle of the night he climbs up and drinks it” says Nancy of her pampered pooch.

On his birthday Napoleon eats a special meal while seated at the dinner table with the family. At night he sleeps in his own dog bed placed on the family bed, but on particularly cold Napa nights he gets out and snuggles with Nancy. A food connoisseur and a huge beggar, Napoleon enjoys receiving the occasional bit of salad and chicken. When it’s time to graze on his kibble he becomes a traveling kibblesman, taking each morsel from the food bowl to the soft rug for further enjoyment.

Napoleon weighs 10.5 pounds and looks fluffy like a cotton ball. “He is starting to lose his flowing butterfly ears in his old age,” says Nancy of her longtime friend who suffers from some back pain. When moved in a position that is uncomfortable Napoleon gives a deep crackling growl and bears his teeth, finishing the growl with a lick - his typical all growl no bite routine.


Not very canine social, Napoleon doesn’t care about other dogs, he would rather spend time with Nancy, and that is perfectly fine with her. Napoleon has made Nancy’s life better and traveling without him is daunting. “It feels very strange if he’s not around, the home feels empty without him.” says Nancy about dropping Napoleon off at the sitter before a long trip. “I have never been close to a dog like I have been with Napoleon, he is my soul-mate!”

To view more paintings by Nancy Flores, including painting featuring Napoleon, please visit her website at

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