From canines who have carved out a place in history through acts of courage to the tail-wagging chum of a character from children’s literature, Oregon shows its devotion to dogs throughout the state. We continue our periodic look at dog art around the world with a virtual visit to a few of The Beaver State’s dog statues.
Outside Cascade Locks Marine Park’s Visitor’s Center stand sculptor Heather Soderberg’s interpretation of Lewis and Clark’s traveling companions, guide/interpreter Sacagawea and Seamus, the Newfoundland who took part in a 4,000-mile journey which led himself and his human pack from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast and back again.
A four-legged friend of Captain Meriweather Lewis, the explorer named a creek along the Blackfoot River in his adventurous dog’s honor. As time flowed on, the tributary’s name was changed, but the story of Seamus lives on through a series of statues located throughout the United States, including Salmon, Idaho; Cairo, Illinois; Sioux City, Iowa; St. Charles, Missouri; Great Falls, Montana; Fort Calhoun and Lincoln, Nebraska; Washburn, North Dakota; and other Oregon works of art.
Tourists meandering along Madison Avenue will meet Cassie, a canine who has been hugged and petted by passersby since 2003. Created by sculptor Sue McNeil Jacobsen, Cassie — who had a water bowl of her very own installed four years after her unveiling — shares the street with several animal friends, including a bronze squirrel by Raymond Hunter which is permanently perched on an inviting bench; Fly: The Squatter, a work by Rich Branstrom which watches the world go by from its position on an alley wall; and Ascending bronze frog by Tim Foley, which sharp-eyed sightseers can spot scaling a brick building.
Since 1934 the Carrera marble images of a boy and his two canine companions have greeted visitors to Alba Park. The centerpiece of a granite fountain and reflecting pool filled with pond lilies, the statue is a memorial to Medford resident Charles W. Palm, a prominent Medford real estate broker who could often be seen around town with his two Cocker Spaniels.
A dog walk through Portland’s Grant Park is a stroll down Memory Lane for those with a love for children’s literature thanks to the two-and four-legged figures in the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden. Leaping into real life from the pages of the Newbury Medal-winning author’s beloved series of books, visitors come face to face with the famous fictional characters Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Henry’s canine companion, Ribsy, which were formed by sculptor Lee Hunt. Surrounded by granite plaques emblazoned with the titles of Beverly Cleary’s many tomes, the Rover romps at a fountain in the park,which played a prominent role in Cleary’s own formative years.
Bookhounds and film fans may know the Heathman Hotel as a character in author E.L. James’ seductive story 50 Shades of Grey, but the regal retreat is famous among fans of Fidos for the dog star that sits at the hotel’s entrance. For years Zelda has put smiles on faces as the face of Hallmark’s popular Zelda Wisdom greeting cards, and a bronze depiction of the English Bulldog elicits the same response from people passing by the popular Portland retreat.
Clad in Beefeater attire to match the doorman’s mode of dress, the creation by sculptor Jim Gion helps potential guests know that the hotel features 150 pet-friendly rooms. Even if you don’t get the chance to check in to the Heathman Hotel, you and your sightseeing Spot can check out Zelda’s statue, which includes a dog bowl fountain for our thirsty tail-wagging chums.
Blessings of the Animals are held annually on the grounds of The Grotto, a 62-acre place of reflection for all which hundreds of spiritual sculptures, including a faithful representation of Michelangelo’s Pieta in the Grotto Cave, a marble depiction of St. Joseph and baby Jesus, and a bronze image of St. Francis of Assisi conversing with birds, a lamb, and a faithful canine companion. NOTE: Leashed dogs can visit the lower level grounds of the botanical garden.
Unveiled during Police Memorial Week, a tribute to Mick, a Portland police dog who gave his life in 2014 in the line of duty, greets visitors to the Portland Police Bureau’s canine unit and public safety building. Created by sculptor Richard Moore III, the statue of the 17-month-old German Shepherd is a tribute to all of the four-legged members of the Portland police force who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
Situated in a roundabout, the drivers who pass sculptor Stanley Wanlass’s appropriately named “The End of the Trail”– which was created to commemorate the explorers’ 18-month adventure– see an exhausted Seaman lying at the feet of Lewis and Clark.
Also in the city of Seaside a trip inside the Fort Clatsop Visitors Center offers a view of another depiction of Lewis, Clark and their canine companion by sculptor Stanley Wanlass.
Used as an encampment for The Corps of Discovery in late 1805 and early 1806, today history buffs can find out more about the noble Newfoundland at Fort Clatsop National Memorial. Seaman is remembered each summer at Fort Clatsop with a day held in his honor which includes dog-themed crafts for children and the chance for tourists to learn about Lewis’s brave barking buddy and the breed of dog by meeting Newfoundlands.
Since 1932, canines and kids have promenaded through the streets of Silverton each third Saturday in May in America’s longest-running pet parade in memory of a dog named Bobbie, who traveled 2,551 miles to return to his home town.
Separated from his family while on a road trip in Indiana back in 1923, the two-year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd struck out alone on what would be a six-month trek. Reunited with his loved ones, Bobbie’s journey took him on the road to fame, with a starring role in the silent movie The Call of the West, keys to various US cities, a mention in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and in recent years with a mural and life-sized statue. (Silverton’s celebrated Spot is also honored with a Bobbie the Wonder Dog bust in The Oregon Garden and Resort, where pups can literally stop and smell the roses…and the impatiens, alyssum, and other floral finery in a garden made just to cultivate a canine’s love of nature.)