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Saturday, January 29, 2011

One Saved - Hundreds, Thousands, Millions More

The most amazing thing - the image I posted with the dog in the corner- it saved her. Just this morning I saw a picture of her during her car ride home. It is truly wonderful to be a part of saving one of the many dogs I saw when I went to the shelter. So many people stepped up and tagged the photo and passed it on and because of that she is safe.

But I can't help but wonder about the rest of them. So many other dogs and cats sit in the shelter waiting for someone to save them also. The cat above is just one of them... and the pictures that I take are only of the ones I see. I have only seen the ones out in the adoption area... from what I understand there is a whole other area full of ones who will never get a chance.. such as the pit bulls who, no matter how wonderful and trained and socialized a dog they may be- will never even get a chance to see the adoption floor because they are deemed illegal. Another group that I have not seen in the adoption area are the mothers with litters... what happens to them?

So I celebrate one small victory, but mostly I use it as fuel to move on. I use it as an example of what can happen... and I hope to god that I am able to take more pictures that can move people the way that image did.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

images and the internet.

wow, the last image I posted on here really got to me. I went home after taking it and there it was just popping up in my every thought.

When I do go to the shelter, it is always heartbreaking to me. I am essentially just documenting what I see- the various dogs and cats behind bars. I take my pictures and go home and generally set them aside for a few days. Generally, I do not work on a piece immediately because the whole experience of going to the shelter is very upsetting to me. I never know if the dogs and cats I see and talk to and photograph will live or die. When I do work on them I destroy much of what I do because I often make a piece or work on a photo and think it is not good enough. There is a large burden that I feel on my shoulders every time I approach this work, because I may be showing the world the last glimpse of an innocent dog or cat. I find the work depressing, but I do it anyway because I feel that I need to.

Today I did something different. Today I was so bothered by a single image that I had taken that I decided to post it on my Facebook page and a couple of rescue sites. I did not think there would be much of a response- but I was wrong.

It seems that the image did move people as it did me... and it seems that the dog may be safe. I am holding my breath until I know for sure. She currently has two holds on her and needs to be spayed before being sent to safety. I will be so relieved to know she is in safe hands...

Check out the link below for one page of comments following my post on a rescue site. It is very heartwarming to see such a response!

But there are so many more.. so many... I posted some more pics from that same trip above.... these are raw unaltered photos-- some may end up in my work and some may not...

While I was there yesterday, this girl was taken out of her kennel and brought into another room for a few minutes. It was during that walk that I was able to see she is full of milk and terrified beyond belief. As they walked her back to her kennel she was shaking uncontrollably and I knelt down to pet her. I could see at that time she was so full of milk for her babies it looked as though she would burst. I wanted to ask where he babies were, but I knew the answer would be.

After they put her back in her kennel- she went to the corner and sat there. The entire time I was there she did not move. It completely broke my heart.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

bad press - good cats

After seeing the news piece below I decided it was time to go again to get images from the Miami shelter. I had realized that in my trips before I had no pictures of cats from there....

There were many cats, but not as many as I had expected. For 22,000 being killed last year,, I got to thinking about the dogs and cats that make it to the adoption area versus the ones that don't. I wonder what the percentages are that make it? I wonder how long they get?

I fell in love with all the cats and wanted to take some home- and I will adopt one or two in the future. I lost my two cats this last year- ages 18 and 20- I have gone to look at adoptable cats on numerous occasions, but I just don't feel like I am ready for another one yet-- but when I am I think it/they will be from Miami.

The cats are given shoe boxes to hide in and many of them just hid while I was there- like this one #a1321958.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I am needing to go back to the shelter very soon. I didn't get all the numbers on the dogs- plus I have no cat pictures yet. I like this image.. there is something about it.. I might do something with it. I remember on this day there were a ton of bullterriers (the little one on the right). I see them a lot on the website... I do not know, but I hope they have a local bull terrier rescue group because they have many of them- obviously purebred. I wonder what people pay for them from breeders and if know they could get one for $75 at the shelter?

Saturday, January 15, 2011


So it has been a long time since I have updated this poor blog! A long long long time!

I am still working on the project, but I have moved to Florida and I have my eyes set upon the Miami-Dade Animal Services. It is not my local shelter, but a two hour plus drive away from here. On my first trip I went with the intention of finding a large scary looking guard dog. I have many dogs, but none had that guard look about them. I had read that in the last year the shelter had euthanized around 20,000 dogs and cats. I had to check out this place for myself.

The shelter is a busy one - very busy. I spent an hour or so looking at the big dogs, but all of the ones that I was interested in had holds on them. I then decided to look at puppies. I had not had a puppy in 13? years or so and I wasn't sure I wanted to do the house training - but then I set my eyes upon her. Sylvia Miami Tiger Dog of the Atlantic came to live with me and I began my work on the project again.
(My tiny 11 pound Sylvia was so sick when I brought her home. She was as tiny as my Chihuahua Sir Nigel Longbottom Ferocious Chihuahua of the East and is now about 50 pounds.)

(Sylvia Miami Tiger Dog of the Atlantic at her graduation from beginning obedience class- she really is not as thug as she looks - it is the camera angel... not very slimming)

All shelters have identification on the cages (or should have) for the dogs and cats inside. On the highly busy ones there is often times just a number given. Sometimes they arrive with a name and sometimes a worker or volunteer takes the time to give them one. I have been thinking a lot about the numbers assigned to them. When I brought Sylvia home- she wore a plastic collar with her identifying number. I kept it on her for awhile... I am not sure why.

I have been thinking also about the idea of the freedom of the dogs/cats and how they find freedom in this world though adoption and freedom through the next world through the euthanasia. I was thinking about the idea of escape and I thought about creating work using their images in "The great escape" and to create worlds in which they can be escaping ... the image below is the first completed piece in this series. I am using both drawing and painting in this work... each one is titled with the number assigned the animal.. and this is included on the image.

I hope to update this blog more regularly...honestly, I go long stretches without touching this work- it really upsets me to work on it sometimes because I remember what it was like in that euthanasia room in TN... horrible... this work depresses me. But I think of Sylvia and I start to wonder if her siblings ever found homes.. and I realize that if I don't continue the work it will all be for nothing.. PLUS I have an event coming up.. in W Palm Beach in March... more details so come later....
This DOG- ID#A1317518