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
This one’s about a dog named Stella, a carny named Barney and the woman who sort of adopted them both — a Nashville photographer who motored up to Baltimore last week to carry out Barney’s last wish: that his ashes be spread upon the grave of his mother.
Susan Adcock became enamored with carnival workers more than a decade ago, and continued to count them as her friends long after she completed a newspaper assignment documenting their lives in photos. A highly compassionate sort, she helped them through troubles and sometimes even gave them shelter in her own home.
Among those she befriended was Barney, a down on his luck, hard drinking sort from Baltimore who she met while taking carnival photos. Barney, for a while, had a job as Barney, the dinosaur. He’d put on his purple dinosaur outfit and delight when the audience cheered and called his name, which was actually his name.
When Barney died, it was Susan who saw to it that he was cremated, in accordance with his wishes, Susan who took possession of his ashes, and Susan who cleaned out his apartment.
“I packed up his apartment over the weekend and by Monday afternoon, twelve years of hard living evaporated into space,” she wrote on Pitcherlady.com, one of her blogs. “People that hadn’t seen Barney in forever stopped by to say how sorry they were. They asked for things and I didn’t mind them asking. Most of them loved Barney too. Just not enough to stop by and help him get to the bathroom when he needed it …”
The next day, she took the Baltimore native’s ashes back to her house in Nashville, and found some comfort in having them around.
“Often you have three days or so to say goodbye and then that person in in the ground under a stone. This experience taught me that being able to take the remains of the deceased home with you is much more bearable. I knew in my head that Barney was gone but I was able to sit the box on my kitchen table and we hung out all summer together. That was a gift. My grief was tempered by having him around.”
As summer wound down, Susan planned the trip to Baltimore. Barney wanted to be “returned to the arms of his mother.” She died in 1978. This week, Susan drove to Baltimore with her dog Stella in the back seat, and Barney’s boxed ashes in the front. She took the ashes to a cemetery on Eastern Avenue, where she me Barney’s daughters, and a grandson he had never met.
“Their pictures used to be stuck on the side of his refrigerator with magnets and he told me once that he wanted them there so he could see them from his bed whenever he looked up. He used to tell them goodnight before he went to sleep, ’like the Waltons,’ he said.”
Barney was a big fan of TV, and, for 12 years, never turned off the one in his apartment. “I remembered Barney saying once that wherever he ended up, they better have cable,” Susan wrote.
Once Susan accomplished her mission and the ashes were spread, she — along with Stella, a pit bull also adopted from the carnival — saw a little of Baltimore. She visited Edgar Allan Poe’s house, they took a ride in a water taxi, and she went in search of crab cakes — finding none below $20. That’s when she wrote me.
A regular reader and commenter on ohmidog!, Susan knew Ace and I were on the road, and didn’t know we were back in Baltimore for a bit. Long story short, as they say, we emailed back and forth, talked on the phone, met with our dogs in Riverside Park, and went to Captain Larry’s for crabcakes.
Susan, though she has a degree in psychology, decided to become a full-time photographer almost 20 years ago. You can see her work on her blogs, including pitcherlady and carnydog, which centers on Stella, the pit bull she adopted two years ago. Stella belonged to some carnival workers and was three months old when Susan took her in. By then, she — Stella — had already been to four state fairs and a variety of other spots throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.
Knowing how hard carnival life can be, on dogs and people, Susan volunteered to adopt her and the owners agreed.
Stella and Susan left Baltimore Thursday, headed for a visit to the beach before going back to Nashville. We wish them safe travels, and count ourselves lucky to have met someone so compassionate, so talented and so aware that not every creature in need of rescue has four legs.
(Photos: Barney photo by Susan Adcock; Stella photos by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, ashes, baltimore, barney, blogs, carnival, carnival life, carny, carnydog, carnys, cemetery, compassion, cremated, dog's country, dogs, last wishes, pets, photographs, photography, pit bull, pitcherlady, remains, road trip, stella, susan adcock, travels with ace, workers, writing
Today is the last day of “Hey That’s MY Dog!” — a photo exhibit featuring more than 150 South Baltimore canines.
The exhibit, at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Avenue, will be open through tonight.
Sales of the prints ($25 each) benefit Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS).
The photos were taken over the last year and a half by ohmidog’s vice president of visual communications (aka me).
To see if your dog is in the mix, watch the following video presentation of the exhibit — but don’t blink or you might miss him.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: art, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, captain larry's, dogs, exhibit, hey that's my dog, john woestendiek, ohmidog!, photo, photographs, photography, south baltimore, video
A mystery mutt has become an unofficial mascot of the riots in Greece by turning up at every major demonstration in Athens for the past two years.
As this video shows, when there’s violence and unrest — and in Greece, that means almost daily – the dog has a habit of appearing amid the crowds.
Fans have even created a Facebook page for him.
“He doesn’t seem to get scared of tear gas, explosions, petrol bombs and people screaming all over,” wrote one blogger. “He actually seems to enjoy himself a lot!”
The dog wears a blue collar, indicating he’s a stray who has been vaccinated.
Some Athens-based bloggers claim his name is Kanellos, which is Greek for “cinnamon.” But others say that dog died in 2008, and the one pictured is Louk. Still others say his name is Theodorus and he lives in Syntagma Square, which has become ground zero for violent protests.
As for why he keeps turning up at the riots, nobody knows.
Some suspect he belongs to either a photographer or police officer. But in most recent photos, the New York Post says, he seems to be “showing solidarity with hooded rock-throwers and barking at cops in riot gear.”
More likely, being a dog, he’s neutral.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 10th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, Athens, blue, collar, demonstrations, dog, dogs, facebook, Greece, kanellos, louk, mascot, news, ohmidog!, page, pets, photographs, photos, riot, riot dog, riots, stray, theodorus, unrest, video, violence
“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).
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, benefit, buster, captain larry's, darcy, dog, dogs, exhibit, fundraiser, hey that's my dog, john woestendiek, ohmidog!, photographs, photography, photos
If you’ve strolled by the Captain’s, you might have seen my sign out front, a piece of which is shown here.
The exhibit is a benefit for Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, once the home of my dog, Ace, and a passing through point for another 11,000 or so dogs a year.
All profits, once the costs of the exhibit are recouped — and I sure hope they are recouped — will go to BARCS, a non-profit agency formed in 2005 in an effort to upgrade the former city animal shelter and reduce the rate of euthanizations.
All photos are for sale and can be taken home with you. The grand opening party starts today at 6 p.m., with Captain Larry’s offering some “Hey That’s MY Appetizer” and “Hey That’s MY Drink” specials. The evening may also feature some musical entertainment, depending on the weather, and whether Sierra the singing dog shows up. (City laws don’t allow dogs inside dining establishments, but Sierra plans a sidewalk performance.)
There’s no charge for admission. Donations to BARCS are welcome. The event’s Facebook page can be found here.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arts, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, benefit, entertainment, event, exhibit, facebook, fundraiser, hey that's my dog, john woestendiek, ohmidog!, photographer, photographs, photography, photos
From Angel to Zeb — with 24-plus dogs in between (including Yuki, above) – author/photographer/dog lover Pamela B. Townsend has put together a book of her dog photography that, in addition to spanning the alphabet, provides a heartfelt look at the bond between dogs and their humans.
“A is for Angel, A Dog Lover’s Guide to the Alphabet” is the second book by Pam, who is also vice-president of the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County in Maryland. Her first was “Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs.”
A dog-lover since childhood, Pam’s goal is to pay tribute to the animals she shoots. “I try to capture both the outer beauty and inner spirit of each subject, preferring to photograph them in their own environment rather than in a studio for more natural images. The results, I hope, will make viewers smile, remind them of animals they have known and loved, and increase their appreciation of nature’s beauty and diversity.”
In “A is for Angel,” Pam features at least one dog for each letter of the alphabet (Xander, in case you’re wondering, represents X), along with essays written by their owners.
My favorite is Y — for Yuki, whose human, Tracy Long, penned this (reprinted with permission) entry:
Yuki is the antithesis of the description, “What you see is what you get.” She has taught us that there is so much more—to her and life in general—than meets the eye. Wonder is waiting around every corner. Each smell and sight and sound contains worlds within it. And if you stare into the pools of Yuki’s eyes—those windows to treasure houses of mischievous love—I think you’d see, as we have, a small child laughing.
Yuki loves life! For her, its daily routines are events to be anticipated and celebrated. She has taught us the beauty of welcoming every moment as if it were a gift…even the moment in the car when, without warning, she looked right at us…and pooped in the back seat.
There are times we’re convinced she’s hoarding stubborn wisdom in the folds of her skin, the kind of wisdom that—like Yuki—may not come easily or quickly, but if asked and sought for will eventually come…the kind of wisdom that says, “Don’t be afraid to contain multitudes.” Yuki certainly isn’t.
She is Shar-pei, she is shepherd, part terror, part teacher. Her lessons: forgive often, love well, and dig it all! Though she is undoubtedly one of the clumsiest dogs I have ever seen, sometimes when I see her running towards me—those ears floppin’ and that skin flappin’ as she barrels clumsily into me, licking my face—I think I am witnessing pure grace.
What a gift it is to be given the opportunity, every day, to love Yuki and have her love us back.
The book — available at Paws Pet Boutique in Annapolis, The Big Bad Woof in Takoma Park, and The Grapevine in Frederick — can also be ordered from Pam via email (email@example.com).
To see more of Pam’s work, visit her website, digitaldoggy.com.
(Photo courtesy of Pamela B. Townsend)
(To see ohmidog’s archived coverage of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads” page.)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: a is for angel, black is beautiful, books, books on dogs, digital doggy, dog books, dogs, pamela b. townsend, pamela black townsend, pamela townsend, photographer, photographs, photography, prince georges, spca, yuki
We’ve shown you all of those in recent weeks at ohmidog! — because, though they are graphic and disturbing, we believe that they need to be seen.
So now we bring you this one of Lucky and Misty, dog and cat — graphic in a way that won’t turn your stomach, graphic in a way that we could use a little more of, graphic in a way that, maybe, we humans could learn from.
Global New Year’s Resolution: Be more like Lucky and Misty.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, bridge, change, colorado national monument, cruelty to animals, disturbing, dog, dragged, dragging, elevator, graphic, hate, kicked, lithuania, love, lucky, misty, new york, ohmidog!, pets, photograph, photographs, thrown, torture, video, videos
Celebrities and their pets are the subject of a new photo book by David Woo, a Texas photographer who says Steve Miller and his three dogs proved the most difficult image to capture.
Woo, a photographer for the Dallas Morning News, includes 91 celebritities — most of them with Texas connections — in the book, ”Top Dogs and Their Pets.”
Other subjects include Owen Wilson, Joe Cocker, Robert Wagner, Cesar Millan, Lisa Loeb, James Baker, Dr. Phil and Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot propelled to fame by his emergency landing in the Hudson River, according to the Houston Chronicle. All the photos are black and white, shot against a white background.
Woo said he spent four days at the home of his friend Miller, whose dogs — Lady, Daisy and Maisey — wouldn’t sit still.
(For more dog book news and reviews, visit our Good Dog Reads page.)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 22nd, 2009 under videos.
Tags: books on dogs, cesar millan, daisy, david woo, dog, dog books, dogs, dr. phil, joe cocker, lady, lisa loeb, maisey, owen wilson, photographer, photographs, photography, photos, steve miller, sullenberger, sully, top dogs, top dogs and their pets
It’s time for some good cheer, dammit.
And in that spirit, Santa invites all pets and their owners – both those who have been good and those who have been bad — to come to Riverside Park in south Baltimore this Saturday to have your pet’s photo taken with his merry old self.
If seeing Santa, and getting a lasting, suitable for framing memory of your pets’ visit with old St. Nick, isn’t enough, there will also be free treat bags, while supplies last, and Santa himself will award a FURminator to the dog who appears in most need of it.
And there’s also the fact that all proceeds go to a very good cause – the Franky Fund at BARCS, which is used to provide emergency medical care to seriously sick and injured animals so that they may be doctored up and adopted out, as opposed to that nasty alternative Santa doesn’t like to talk about.
Santa will be at Riverside Park between 10 a.m. and noon, assuming he can find a parking space for his sled.
The event is sponsored by BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter), Brazen Tails, Ride Entertainment and the South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue and Adoption Center.
Photos will be taken by Gail Burton, a freelance photographer who works for the Associated Press covering the Ravens and Orioles. The fee is $10, and the photos will be posted online for easy downloading.
How does Santa know all this? Because he’s Santa. And as for those two or three dogs who — like leaping Lola above — wanted nothing to do with Santa last year, I’m looking into ways to make myself less intimidating and more appealing, including smearing myself with bacon grease.
On another holiday related note, tune in tomorrow (Thursday) for an ohmidog! quiz, the five winners of which will receive holiday treat bags for their dogs. The quiz will be posted at 9 a.m., and the first five contestants to submit the correct answers win.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, brazen tails, christmas, christmas cards, dog, dogs, events, franky fund, fundraiser, my dog, ohmidog!, parks, pet, pets, photographs, photos, riverside park, santa, santa claus, spirit, st. nick, visit, with santa, your dog