Mark Barone is a visual artist and dog enthusiast. He has enjoyed the companionship of dogs for many years, and decided to use his artistry to show appreciation for canines while drawing attention to the plight of dogs in shelters that are constantly being euthanized.
He is painting thousands of dog portraits to document their existence and how they are left unadopted in a project called An Act of Dog. (This name is obviously a word play on An Act of God.) An event that saves a person’s life is sometimes called an act of God, but saving a dog’s life could be done by a person, and much more easily accomplished. Yet, it is very common for people to buy pets, including dogs, from pet stores, breeders and puppy mills. An act of God can also be a natural disaster such as a flood, or hurricane, but what is happening to shelter animals is not beyond human control. We can change our beliefs and behavior so that more animals can be adopted and taken care of well. When this trend begins to take off, there will be less euthanizations.
Artists sometimes are perceived by certain cultures as being ‘radical’ or weird, yet they are often the ones to first notice what is happening in society and are not afraid to express themselves on these points.
As the Act of Dog website says, “We’re creating the first memorial museum of its kind in the world, designed to illuminate, educate and lift our animal welfare consciousness to new heights. This Museum will allow us to build a stable, forever fund, that will distribute 100% of your donations towards the salvation of shelter animals only. Too many of today’s large animal charities, are using your donations to lobby for animal rights issues and extreme ideologies; resulting in the abandonment & death of our shelter animals. Billions of our tax dollars are being used to operate kill shelters and pay the salaries of the people perpetuating it, when it could be used to operate no-kill shelters, applying the successful no-kill equation.”