Posts Tagged ‘dog’

It’s a sad but true fact that people abandon their pets at the Falls of the Ohio.  I have come across many stray dogs and cats in my wanderings around the park.  Of course, it’s hard to excuse this behavior when there are organizations that will care for and find new homes for unwanted animals. 

This is a story about a recent encounter I had with a most peculiar “dog”.  I came to call him “Rat-Dog” because of its diminutive size.  I was walking among the willows on a day that felt so much like winter.  I even heard the calls of Sandhill Cranes migrating, but the clouds were low and I couldn’t spot them.  As I was walking past a certain willow with a cavity at its base…this little white animal came running towards me.  For about an hour the little dog tagged along with me and I photographed it in various places of interest.  Rat-Dog would not let me touch it, but it was nevertheless playful.  Following are several images of this remarkable animal.

He seemed to like to play fetch.  I gathered a few walnuts and pitched them into the brown, curling leaves and Rat-Dog was very good at finding them.  I wondered how long he had been out here and what was it eating?  I surmised that like other strays, it probably ate garbage and handouts from fishermen.  I regretted that I had nothing to feed it.  Usually, I have something to snack on, but on this day, I hadn’t planned to stay long.

Along the sandy trail, we came to a patch of yellow Horse Nettle fruits.  I photographed these plants months a go when they sported lovely purple and yellow flowers.  I have since learned that these fruits are very poisonous.  They look like little tomatoes.  Rat-Dog fortunately did not eat any.  He seemed content to just run between the clumps of plants.

As another good indicator of scale, I shot this image of Rat-Dog by a plastic bottle.  It was at this moment that the little animal heard some distant sound and ran as fast as it could towards it.  I thought to myself that perhaps this was the dog’s owner who feeling twinges of guilt, came back for it.  Maybe he wasn’t abandoned to begin with and had become lost during an earlier visit?  Either way, I hope he finds his way home.

Rat-Dog was made from bits of found Styrofoam, coal, sticks, and pieces of plastic.  The collar around his neck is the top from a disposable salt shaker.  The dog is held together with little sharpened pegs.  He was created and photographed at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  The part about pets being abandoned here…is sadly true.

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Styro Hound, in process, 4/11Here’s a project from this April that shows some variation from my usual working process.  I started this dog sculpture, but wasn’t completely happy with it.  I did cut into the dog’s styrobody to inset the foam pieces that make up part of its legs.  I also started with small fishing bobber eyes, but later changed them to hickory nuts.

Styro hound on site, 4/09


Two shots from the river the day I made this sculpture.  The ears are pieces of thick bark.  I posed this work first next to a plastic gasoline container.   I find a lot of these and have a collection of photos of them.  I also plan to later post  a series of “Collections” that I have made of other river debris. The second shot was in an area where fishermen would see it.  I come across real dogs at the Falls on occassion.  People do walk their animals here.  I do remember being surprised once by three pit bulls running down the beach all unleashed!!  They had run ahead of their masters and found me.  Fortunately, they were all sweethearts, but I have had encounters with feral dogs running in packs in other woods.  Oh, there was one other highlight on this day.  I saw and poorly photographed an American Turkey walking along the tree line.  It was the first one I had ever seen at the Falls and is a bird strangely not on the park’s checklist.

revamped Styrodog at home,4/09

Last shot is of the revamped “Styro-Hound” at my home.  I saved this piece, because I knew I could improve it and make it seem more dog-like.  I switched out the ears.  One is the sole of a shoe and the other is a plastic, wing from a dove hunting decoy.  I also changed a few of the sticks forming its limbs.  All the materials were found at the Falls.  I can keep my project “pure” because so much washes up here.  “Styro-Hound” variation II, was unveiled at the park’s Earth Day observance.

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