Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Act of Dog ~ Museum of Compassion

   I have mentioned before how much I enjoy making new connections on
♥ This is Blue's Night Light ♥
LinkedIn.  When you make a new friend, LinkedIn gives you other people that share your interests.  One suggestion I received was for Mark Barone and it featured his photo with paintings of dogs.  Intrigued by the fabulous art, I clicked to read more about him.  I was so moved by what I discovered that I immediately asked to join his circle.  When he accepted, I asked if it would be okay to write a post about the work he, Marina Dervan, and Brenda Cooper are doing to bring awareness to shelter dogs.  They were so kind in making themselves available for questions and supplying me access to their photos.
   Be prepared to discover An Act of Dog, Museum of Compassion.  This is a poignant reminder of the plight of shelter dogs in America.  Mark spends his days capturing the souls of dogs who did not make it out of the shelter system.  Through his art, you feel the presence of these animals, the love they yearned for, but never found, and the hope that other dogs will be luckier.  Mark and Marina’s goal is to immortalize 5,500 dogs and permanently display this inspiring exhibit, build a forever fund, and use 100% of the donations towards saving shelter animals.  The hope is to have an educational platform to promote compassion for all animals.

From the An Act of Dog website:

FUSING THE POWER OF ART, WITH THE SCIENCE OF COMPASSION AND THE HEART OF PHILANTHROPY


Education is the bridge to compassion, and if we are to help our children navigate the world outside with tolerance, compassion, and acceptance, then we must educate their hearts and minds to produce socially and emotionally aware adults, who understand that compassion is not a luxury, but a necessity for our survival.

   
♥ Mehama's Night Light ♥
The An Act of Dog, Museum of Compassion began over three years ago.  Mark’s beloved dog of 22 years, Santina, passed away.  Heartbroken months later, he was still too sad to think of taking in another dog.  Marina started an online search for adoptable dogs for the time when Mark was ready to welcome it.  She said what she found out about the shelter systems were “chilling.”  Very few animals that enter the kill-shelter system come out alive.  The startling statistic on their homepage speaks loud and clear.  “Life expectancy for humans is 75+ years.  Life expectancy for shelter dogs is 72 hours.”
   In Mark’s words, "We did this for significant cultural change.  We want to inform the general public about what's going on, that their tax dollars are basically going to fund killing machines at these shelters."  I know that we all know people in the dog and shelter worlds that are incredibly devoted.  Mark and Marina are amazing in their efforts to make America a no-kill nation.  They gave up their regular jobs, retirement savings, and various material comforts to fulfill their goal.  Mark has been an artist for over thirty years with his work featured in top art publications, receiving countless awards, and exhibited throughout the U.S.A.  He was also a consultant to cities across the country to show how the arts can revitalize blighted neighborhoods.  Marina spent over twenty years as a corporate executive trainer, conflict resolution coach, and radical honesty trainer, coaching executives from Wall St. to London.
   In the spring of 2011, they moved from Santa Fe to Louisville, Kentucky in a space that is large enough to accommodate the work and ample storage space.  They work seven days a week.  Mark is usually painting fifty 12”x12” paintings of dogs at a time from dawn until around midnight.  Marina is wearing a multitude of hats, including the heart-breaking part of receiving and organizing new images and stories they receive daily of dogs that have been put down at shelters.
An Act of Dog
“Every generation is remembered for something.  Let’s be the one to cultivate a compassionate generation.”
   I mentioned in the beginning that the goal was to paint 5,500 dogs.  This was
♥ Katrina's Night Light ♥
not just a random number.  It is the number of dogs killed in American shelters.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  The rate is double that for cats.  It time that we as a dog-loving nation stand up and say, “No more senseless killing of dogs and cats unfortunate enough not to have a loving home.”  I’d like to believe that we are better than this.  We are very quick to condemn other countries for their treatment of stray dogs and cats.  It’s time that we look in the mirror at our own ways of dealing with the homeless pet population.
   You can help be a part of An Act of Dog “Candle Light Vigil” to honor the 5,500 forgotten shelter dogs that never lived to know love, and illuminate our homes with their stunning portraits as fine art night-lights from the wall of compassion exhibit.  It would be awesome to light up every home and let these lovely souls glow and unite us in a quest to save the rest.  You can order today and choose from sixteen beautiful lost dogs.  I had to ask Mark if he had painted a Basset Hound and he sent me a photo pf
♥ Grant, the Basset Hound ♥
the one he is currently painting.  I hope to have Grant, who was killed for having a food aggression, lighting my home for Christmas.  Each night light costs $38 and would make a beautiful Christmas gift for the rescue lover on your list.  
Mark admits that some of the paintings have taken an emotional toll.  Most of the portraits are in a 12”x12” format, but ten of the especially tragic stories that exemplify “the excuses of people to perpetuate the killing” have been selected for large scale 8’x8’ paintings.  Please take a moment to peruse through the An Act of Dog website.  I can tell you that it affected me in a way that I had not expected.  I hope to make a trip to Louisville one day, visit the Museum of Compassion, and meet the remarkable Mark and Marina.
This Collage of Compassion feature 4% of the 5,500 portraits.

Below is a video from An Act of Dog.  They teamed up with a documentary filmmaker to track the project until completion.  I believe you'll enjoy it.


Our Tuesdays are also special because we join Dogz ‘n Pawz and Talking Dogs as they host Tuesday’s Tails.  This blog hop features shelter pets from around the globe that need forever homes.  Please visit and share these deserving dogs and cats on social media.  To see the dogs available at PetSavers in Shreveport, click here.


**Last night I met five of my best friends from high school for the first time in forever.  I won’t say how many years it’s been, but a lot of my audience wasn’t born yet.   It was so much fun to see them again.  It is true what they say about true friends, no matter how much time passes, after a few minutes it is as if you were never apart.  Thanks for the laughter and let’s get together again!
From L to R: Cindy Byrd, Tracy Carpenter, me, Jana Johnston (blue shirt), Debbie Berthelot, and Katy Blount. 
 



27 comments :

  1. That's pretty awesome. This project sounds a little familiar to me, like I may have read about it previously but I just can't remember where now... Gorgeous portraits!

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    1. They have been on several programs and magazines. The paintings are amazing. ☺

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  2. This made me tear up!! Such gorgeous art to honor those losses. <3

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    1. Thanks. It is a wonderful way to honor them and it really affected me. ♥

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  3. That is very, very sad.
    Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. They are trying to make the outcome for shelter pets happy. #NoKillNation

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  4. What a wonderful artist and such beautiful work he does

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    1. He definitely captures each dog's emotions. Their eyes speak.

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  5. I contributed to this project a year or so ago. Though his art is fantastic, I rarely visit the site because I always end up in tears. Thank you for a lovely article.

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    1. It's an amazing project to remember the heartbreaking stories that happen 5,500 times a day. I'm so glad that you contributed to them. It is just so moving. I cried several times researching their story, but I am so thankful that I found their work. Thanks ♥

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  6. hmmmm, my first comment disappeared!
    As I was saying, this is just amazing <3 You are wonderful for sharing!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. Thanks. They are putting a face to the faceless dogs lost in the "system." I'm glad that you liked it.

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  7. It is so nice to meet up with DEAR "old" FURENDS.

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    1. It really was so much fun. We went from how our grown children are doing to some that have grandchildren! Time flies. ☺

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  8. It nearly breaks my heart, but maybe it helps to avoid that so much dogs have to die just because no one wants them.

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    1. The work is incredible and it touches your heart to look into the dog's eyes. There has to be a better way.

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  9. Beautiful drawings! Nice you got to meet up with those old friends. Mom met up with her HS best friend she hadn't seen since the summer of graduation a couple months ago and really enjoyed the meetup.

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    1. Mark Barone does incredible work. Isn't it strange how the years just dissolve and it's like you've never been apart? I hope to see them again soon.

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  10. I"ve read about this project before, but it's been awhile - going to go catch up on what he's done since last I looked.

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    1. Oh good! They have quite a number of dogs painted. I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting.

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  11. What an inspiring project. I am always shocked at the number of euthanasia rate of shelter dogs and cats. It is very sad. Thanks to Mark and Marina for shedding light on this issue.

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    1. It makes it real when you see those faces. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. That would be a wonderful project! It is so sad to think of the number of dogs who are just thrown away. Nice reunion too!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  13. Wow! This story is truly compelling...I couldn't stop reading... it makes me sad and hopeful at the same time. These people are making such an amazing emotional and physical sacrifice to better the world for dogs. I want to help, please let me know if I can continue what you have started, or if I can help spread the word in any way.

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    1. Thank you Rachel. That is exactly how it grabbed me. You can contact them on their website, they are very nice. Every voice that is raised to bring attention to their project helps. ♥

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  14. Thank you for sharing this story and awareness. Sad, just sad about how many animals are killed in shelters but there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the work that these two wonderful people are doing. What beautiful work Mark does. That basset hound picture is stunning! After I was all teared up it was nice to see you got together with your high school friends, how nice is that.

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  15. What an amazing thing they are doing. It has to be so difficult dealing with those disheartening statistics and seeing the faces of those that are part of them.

    How nice meeting up with old friends is! You all look great (and not nearly as old as you were insinuating)!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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