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Tag: buster

Hey That’s MY Photo Exhibit

“Hey That’s MY Dog!” a photo exhibit featuring more than 150 South Baltimore dogs — on display until May 10 — got off to an amazing start last night at Captain Larry’s.

Dog lovers packed the joint. Close to 50 of them took home photos of their dogs. And I only ripped off one customer.

Before we get to that, allow me to point out that proceeds from the exhibit go to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS), and to issue special thanks to two Philadelphia friends — Margaret Grace, who helped me put the exhibit up, and Don Groff, who took the accompanying photographs

Thanks as well to Adam and his singing dog Sierra. While there were too many distractions for Sierra to focus on her singing, she howled a bit, and her presence, and Adam’s sidewalk saxophone playing, were appreciated.

The idea behind the exhibit — the culmination of about two year’s worth of my dog photo-taking — was that dog people would pay big money for photos of their own dogs. (The prints, all hanging from clotheslines, are selling for $25).

One of the first friends to drop by was a former Baltimore Sun colleague who owns a Boston terrier named Buster. She was very happy to see Buster’s photo hanging in the exhibit.

Sadly, I informed her that the photo was not Buster, but another Boston terrier friend, the irrepressible Darcy.

Not long after she left, Darcy’s owners showed up and forked over the money for the photograph. Then they took a seat and looked at it a little more closely. The dog in the photo looked older than their’s, and the markings were slightly different.

Turns out it wasn’t Darcy (top); it was Buster (bottom).

Most graciously, they did not demand their money back. And, since I have dozens of Darcy photos from the times I’ve babysat her, I’ll be getting a new print to them — their own dog this time.

We’ll be back tonight at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Ave., in hopes of selling more photos, and none of them, we hope, under false pretenses. The exhibit will be up through next Monday.

What’s your dog’s life worth?

A lawsuit headed to court next week in Arlington County, Virginia will take up the question of what a pet’s life is worth.

Jeffrey Nanni sued his former domestic partner, Maurice Kevin Smith, alleging that Smith  killed their 12-pound Chihuahua, Buster. Smith was found guilty of assault and battery and cruelty to animals in connection with the incident. Since Buster’s death, the suit says, Nanni, 42, a paralegal, “continues to suffer severe emotional distress.”

The suit, according to a story in Monday’s Washington Post, asks that monetary damages be awarded on the basis of  Buster’s worth to Nanni “as a companion animal.”

If he wins, the case would be groundbreaking one in Virginia, where state law says that dogs and cats are considered property, and that owners are entitled to recover only the value of a pet. In the past, that has been interpreted to mean the replacement value.

Nanni’s attorney, a White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, hopes to move the boundaries of Virginia law in asking a jury to award money for “Buster’s actual value” to Nanni, saying pets have “irreplaceable relationships” with their owners.

Read more »

Amid the controversy, some praise for mutts

    Roy Hattersley sang the praises of mutts this week, as controversy continued to simmer over purebred breeding practices and dog shows that put a higher premium on “beauty” and “conformation” than they do on canine health.
    This week saw the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pull out of Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, due to concerns about health problems in pedigree dogs and the role Crufts plays in perpetuating those problems.
    Meanwhile, the Kennel Club filed a complaint against the BBC, calling the documentary that led in part to the RSPCA withdrawal, unfair.
    The multi-part report, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” looked at the health problems experienced by certain breeds as a result of breeders striving to accentuate certain physical traits.

The documentary featured boxers with epilepsy, pugs with breathing problems and bulldogs that were unable to mate and — because of breeders striving for broader heads in the breed — unable to be born without Caesarian section.

A preview of the program can be found here. The entire series can be found on YouTube.

Here’s some of what Hattersley — politician, author, journalist and former member of Parliament — wrote:

“It is barbarous to breed a dog with a brain too big for its skull just to make it look right when it is walked around the competition ring. But the idea of breeding the perfect specimen is wrong in itself. Dogs should be loved as dogs, whatever their shape and size.

“Dogs were made to be friends not exhibits, status symbols or “positional goods” that demonstrate their owner’s aesthetic sensibilities, status, income or fastidious good taste. I am for mongrels because they proclaim the glory of just being dogs – not heads set at the right angles, legs of the proper length or ears suitably pricked. Mongrels are the essence of dog – dog as a virtue in itself … I believe that being a dog is – or ought to be – enough.

Hattersley is the author of many books, including “Buster’s Diaries,” in which his dog Buster defends  killing a goose in one of London’s royal Parks. In 1996 Hattersley was was fined in connection with the goose death.

His full essay can be found in the London Times.