Once a week, Meredith College art professor Shannon Johnstone takes a homeless dog for a walk to the top of what used to be a landfill.
The Raleigh area landfill has a new life now, as a park.
The dogs she photographs there are still waiting for one.
They all come from the Wake County Animal Center, where, after being abandoned or surrendered, they’ve been living anywhere from a couple of weeks to more than a year.
The park, located atop a 470-foot peak formed from 20 year’s worth of Raleigh’s trash, serves as a scenic backdrop, but also, for Johnstone, as a metaphor.
Johnstone has photographed 66 “landfill dogs” so far — either on her climb up or atop the hill, according to a column in the Raleigh News & Observer.
Shot at what’s now one of the highest points in Wake County, the pictures of throwaway dogs playing atop a hill made from other things people threw away are sometimes haunting, sometimes hopeful, sometimes a little of both.
Some of the dogs she photographed have found homes right away; others remained at the animal shelter. Five have died.
Johnstone has photographed shelter dogs before. While she declined to name the city, one project she was involved in photographed animals before, during and after euthanasia.
She said the idea for the current project came from Wake County’s former environmental director, who envisioned dozens of dogs at the park.
Instead Johnstone brings them there one at a time, and doesn’t remove their leashes (except later with Photoshop).
Landfill Dogs, according to its website, is a project with three overlapping components: fine art photographs, adoption promotions, and environmental advocacy.
The project was made possible by a year-long sabbatical granted by Meredith College’s Environmental Sustainability Initiative, and with cooperation from the staff and volunteers at Wake County Animal Center.
(Top photo by Shannon Johnstone; bottom photo by Corey Lowenstein / News & Observer)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, animal welfare, animals, art, dogs, environment, hill, landfill, meredith college, mountain, north wake, park, pets, photographs, photography, professor, raleigh, shannon johnstone, shelters, trash, wake county, wake county animal center
Breeds: Too many to mention.
Encountered: At Dog Mountain, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Backstory: Despite the death this year of its founder, Dog Mountain held its annual Dog Fest over the weekend — this time making it a celebration of not just dogs, but also of the life and art of Stephen Huneck.
Hundreds showed up for the event.
“We know he would have wanted everyone to have a great time,” said Gwen Huneck, widow of the artist who commited suicide earlier this year. “That is, after all, why the artist created Dog Mountain and the Dog Chapel. Stephen wanted families with their dogs to have fun and enjoy nature in a place where they can bond with their furry family members as well as other dog lovers.”
We brought you the story of artist Stephen Huneck and Dog Mountain in a post earlier today. But these photos from Sunday’s festival may best explain what it’s all about. In a word, dogs.
“Stephen believed having dogs in our lives encourages us to love, laugh and play more often, all qualities that are good for the soul,” she added.
“He also believed being around dogs makes it easier for people to interact with each other and make new friends.”
Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Travels With Ace” — the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing the country.
To see all our roadside encounters click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, art, artist, celebration, chapel, dog, dog mountain, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, festival, gallery, gwen huneck, memorial, mountain, pets, road trip, st. johnsbury, stephen huneck, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, vermont