2 ‘Dog Days’ statues stolen from West Lafayette locations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two of the 41 dog sculptures decorated by area artists as part of the Dog Days of Summer community art project were stolen late Friday (May 8) or early Saturday (May 9).

One called “Give a Dog a Bone” by artist Liz Rainey was sponsored through contributions from students, faculty and staff in Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in honor of the school’s 50th anniversary. Nicknamed “Oliver” by the students, it is missing from the Harrison Street side of Lynn Hall, the school’s home on Harrison Street on the south side of campus.

The second missing sculpture, “Alfie the Alpha Dog,” was decorated by artist Janet Combs Ivas and had been standing watch on the Northwestern Avenue side of the West Lafayette Public Library.

“These dogs are priceless, not just because of the imagination and talent that went into producing them but also because of the community spirit they represent,” said Kevin Doerr, the school’s director of alumni relations and public affairs. “Our students, faculty and staff are enormously disappointed since this was a highlight of our anniversary celebration.

“Anyone who has information that might help us get them back or who knows where they might be located is asked to contact Purdue police at 765-494-8221 or call the anonymous tip line at 765-496-3784. If a reward would add needed encouragement, we are prepared to offer up to $250 for their safe return.”

The School of Veterinary Medicine and the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette partnered on the project that placed decorated life-size dog statues throughout Lafayette and West Lafayette.

In addition to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school, the project also is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, and both benefit equally. The Dog Days of Summer builds upon previous sculpture projects in the community: Hog Wild in 2003 and Frog Follies in 2005. This new project was inspired by the School of Veterinary Medicine’s outdoor sculpture “Continuum” by Larry Anderson, which features a dog as part of its array of people and animals in a depiction of the enduring human-animal bond.

Artists from Indiana and other areas were recruited to decorate three-dimensional fiberglass dog forms. The finished dogs will be on display from May through September. Corporations, business owners, veterinarians and individuals have sponsored the individual dogs, which will go home with them when Dog Days are over.

At the end of the exhibition, a few of the decorated dogs will go on the road as part of the School of Veterinary Medicine’s traveling exhibit in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Other dogs will be auctioned off to the public on Oct. 4, when they will find a permanent home. Proceeds from the project will benefit the School of Veterinary Medicine’s 50th Anniversary Scholarship Endowment and its Good Samaritan Fund, and the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette’s art education programs.

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 July 2020