|thanks wikiart.org (PD)|
Cox was a member of the Birmingham School of landscape artists, a group that brought a personal character to the natural scenes and objects portrayed, investing their subjects with a feeling of individuality.* Naturally this would work even better for a dog, the prime living interface between man and nature. Whether the golden brown atmosphere around the dog is meant to be straw, or reflected firelight, the effect only reinforces the snug feeling he must be enjoying; we feel it too.
*Did you know Birmingham has a long history as an arts town? I didn't. You should read this.