A Few More Dog-Ink Tributes
My story on dog tattoos in the current issue (Mar/Apr 2008) of BARk continues to spark tattoo feedback. I'm loving seeing all the creative images and hearing the stories behind these intimate and public portraits. Here are a few more.
Check out Lisa Berg’s 11-year-old black tri-color Australian Shepherd (in photo and tattoo!). Named Angel, Berg's sidekick is a hospital therapy dog. “I am honored to see the difference she makes in the lives of all the people that meet her,” writes Berg, who lives in Santa Clarita, California. In 2006, Angel was honored by the Pasadena Humane Society for her work and she made the centerfold of the Society's 80th anniversary calendar. It’s not hard to see why.
After his Pooh Bear died of cancer about eight months ago, Joe Raggio got his dog's portrait tattooed on his arm. He also has a cat named Tigger, and a new Boxer-mix named Bella, but no tattoos of either…yet.
A bright yellow profile of a Golden Retriever adorns the ankle of Linda L. Doerksen of Aurora, Colorado.
Cindy Sullivan of San Diego created this paw tribute to her dog Jake, who died at only 17 months of age. “The red heart around his “J” not only symbolizes my heart, but his buddy, our other boy Tank,” she writes. The colors, red and blue, are the colors of Tank and Jake’s collars respectively.
The dog tattoo gallery expands this week thanks to our ink-happy. dog-loving readers. Starting with Bogie, a Miniature Schnauzer, who inspired a tattoo each for Loren and Brandie Brashier of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “After [Bogie’s] death in April of 2006, we both needed a way to have him with us always,” Brandie Brashiers wrote. Her tatt is on her right shoulder; Loren’s is on his upper right arm. On his upper left is a tattoo of their Miniature Schnauzer Atticus driving a pedal car.
One reason to smile on Monday morning: praying Chihuahua.
Dancing Girl Tattoo
A white miniature poodle with long hair and ears (see photo) named Jessie inspired this tattoo on the arm of David Marrucco. From David and Donna Marrucco’s report, Jessie inspired more than ink. She was a super-smart member of the family who lived to the ripe old age of nearly 20 by feasting on shrimp, fish, conch and veggies by day and dancing in The Pirate’s Den in Key West by night. “Sometimes the girls would get mad because Jessie would come off stage with more money in her garter belt then them,” says Marrucco, who owned that famous establishment in the 1990s.
Today’s Tattoo Round Up
Wow. The cool tattoos keep rolling in, including the free-hand-drawn portraits of Cody, a Golden Retriever, and Pepper, a Black Labrador, under Nancy Hori’s collarbone. Recently, Cody died at 18-years-old, placing him, according to Hori, among the longest-lived Goldens. “I miss him every day,” she says. “He was the greatest teacher I’ve ever had.” Hori runs Dog Day Afternoon, a dog daycare/cage-free boarding facility in Huntington Beach, California.
Not long ago, Lana Schippers in Des Moines, Iowa, tattooed a Weimaraner and three paw prints on the back of her neck, representing her three “weims,” with the face of her oldest, a blue.
On her lower back, Angela Kaiser of Sarasota, Florida, tattooed a tribute to all her dogs to date. The word Ke’, the name of her first dog, a Golden-Chow Chow mix, is surrounded by three Bernese Mountain Dogs including Cheyenne (bottom), Kaiser’s first and the mother of Teddy, top right, and Bella, top left.
Still more tatts to come. (Remember to click images to see enlargements.)
Struggling Shelter Flooded; Situation Desperate
Last November, Franklin County Animal Control in Benton, Illinois (southeast of St. Louis, MO), burned to the ground, resulting in the tragic death of more than 50 animals. The dedicated shelter staff and volunteers have made do with limited resources ever since. Rather than turn animals away, cats and kittens found refuge in a storage shed and dogs and puppies survived one of the coldest winters on record in outdoor kennels pulled from the ashes. Donations are desperately needed to rebuild, but the shelter is located in a rural area of southern Illinois where public and private funds are limited.
To make matters worse, the shelter is now struggling to stay afloat, literally, after days of rain caused flooding. In the words of the shelter director, "PLEASE PLEASE BEG PEOPLE TO HELP US. We've ... been out in the rain for the last two days getting soaked trying to get tarps back up & help all these animals, but the situation is hopeless."
Foster homes are needed most, according to Michelle Parson, President & Dog Program Director of A Caring Place Humane Society in nearby Darien, IL. If you can help, please contact Michelle at (630) 271-9002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other area shelters are also suffering due to flood waters. The photo above is from the Piedmont Animal Control Shelter, where eight dogs drowned. You can read more here.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Paw Prints on the Body Canvas
Sassafras Lowrey, a genderqueer high femme author, artist, activist and dog lover in New York City, was inspired by our story Indelible Dogs (BARk, Mar/Apr 2008) to share hir tattoos. Ze describes hirself as “a heavily modified individual” with many visible tattoos, three of which specifically relate to hir love and spiritual connection with dogs. (Lowrey self-refers with the gender-neutral pronouns ze and hir.)
Seven paw prints across hir upper right arm “represent a dog who has touched my heart and who my life has been intertwined with," Lowrey writes in an email. On hir calf is an elite agility course map—a memorial to early, difficult years in which dog sports played a significant role in building inner resources. That tattoo is ringed with the words: I could have missed the pain, But I’d of had to miss the dance. Tattooed on Lowrey’s left bicep is a portrait of hir service dog Mercury, a Chihuahua-Doxie mix, transformed into an angel statue/gargoyle.
“For me tattoos and dogs are both very important,” Lowrey writes. “Dogs have and continue to change and guide the way I see the world around me, and tattoos are a medium with which I have used to transform my body by rendering it a canvas upon which I can show different aspects of my life and journey to the world, through these permanent inked monuments to beings and moments.”
Learn more about Lowrey at Pomo Freakshow.
They're Smarter Than We Think
Check out the wonderful story on the state of the study of animal cognition with luscious animal portraits by Vincent J. Musi in the current issue of National Geographic (April 2008). The report—which features a pair of smarty-pants Border Collies, of course—explores how more and more we realize "we are not alone in our ability to invent or plan or to contemplate ourselves—or even to plot and lie."
What I found especially interesting was how human cognition science reacts to discoveries in the animal realm. After one researcher complains that folks on the human side constantly raise the bar on what constitutes uniquely human cognition, Virginia Morell writes:
Whenever [animal researchers] find a mental skill in a species that is reminiscent of a special human ability, the human cognition scientists change the definition. But the animal researchers may underestimate their power—it is their discoveries that compel the human side to shore up the divide.
I wonder, why maintaining the divide so all-fired important?
Tattoo Love Continued
There is a universe of funny, quirky, beautiful and heart-felt dog-sparked tattoos out there, and thanks to our readers we’re seeing fine examples of pups-on-skin and hearing the touching stories behind them. Rescuing Huskies inspired Liz Beiter of Siberian Husky Club of Greater New York to ink a pair of blue-eyed sled dogs onto her body last May. The Dachshund on Kathleen Eddy’s ankle celebrates all the Dachshunds of her life; they've brought her 53 years of joy so far. Currently, Eddy lives with Bailey, the wirehaired boy, in Elk Grove, California. Tammy Stevens pays tribute to a standard poodle named Bianca with a stylized illustration. Three days after her dog Buddie died, Kim Johnston created a rainbow-bone heart memorial at a tattoo parlor appropriately called Love Dog Tattoo in Santa Cruz, California.
Still more tattoos to come. And, remember, you can see enlarged images by clicking on the tattoo photos.
With a dog ON her side, forever
Amelia Walker of Seattle sent us a photo of her dog-inspired ink--tattooed on her ribs (ouch!). Max was her first dog, one of three Cocker Spaniels with whom she now lives. "I got him two years ago at the age of 27," she wrote. "Coming to know the love of dogs late in life has completely changed me. Max will always be by my side!"