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 jwoestendiek 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 jwoestendiek 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 jwoestendiek 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 jwoestendiek 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 jwoestendiek 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