What would you think if the mere fact that you owned a dog made you suspicious to the authorities?
Paul Fierlinger was in that very situation in Stalinist Czechoslovakia in the 50s. At that time, only peasants -- country people -- had dogs to protect property. He lived in the city and had a dog anyway; it probably didn't help that he named the dog Roosevelt.
He was angry and trapped, and acted out in ways that made him easy to spot: his paintings were more expressionistic than "properly realistic," and he grew a beard. Roosevelt, though, taught him a few things about how to really take down the system -- look like you're obedient on the surface, and then do what you really want.
Paul made it to the United States in the late 60's. He could have all the dogs he liked then, and he could draw them any way he pleased, which became the genesis of the PBS special Still Life with Animated Dogs.