Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Billy's legacy: My Human Family

Pound dog Billy. Gone, but not forgotten.
Anyone who works with animals knows the experience of tragic and senseless loss. But artist Nick Baldas turned the devastating loss of a pound dog, Billy, into a beautiful legacy. He spoke to SAT about how his pet project, My Human Family Rescue Dogs Find a Home, came to be.

What is your day job?

I am an artist, I work with community groups, councils, galleries and individuals on project that I am passionate about.

Where did the idea for the My Human Family Rescue Dogs Find a Home exhibition come about?

The idea was inspired by Pound Dog Billy, I was sent his tragic story and image and it broke my heart, he was nearly rescued from a pound, his new family were coming to collect him but due to an IT glitch he was euthanised that night, so when the family arrived Billy was dead. I cried and out of my sorrow the exhibition was born - in memory of Pound Dog Billy and all other pound dogs that need a home.

Were you surprised by the number of entries?

No I had no expectations, I would have been happy with 1, 2, 10, 100 entries, the main thing was that we were doing something important for abandoned and neglected dogs. Creating a new opportunity to celebrate the beauty of these dogs and make some noise - BIG WOOFS

How many exhibitions have you had now?

Gee, we have shown in 3 parliament Houses - NSW. QWLD & VIC. 2 galleries. Pine Street Gallery (City of Sydney) and the Margot Hardy Gallery (University of Western Sydney) and 1 library - Campsie Library. So I count 6 showings. 

What is it about these images that touches people?

I think it’s the stories, people love the images because the dogs and families in them are cute, but I think people are really touched by the stories. Most start in really tragic places and end up in LOVE. I think people are surprised at the horror some of these dogs have been through. They are then rescued and loved. I also think the exhibition is successful because we focus on the LOVE, we keep positive.

This exhibition can save lives: how?

I hope the exhibition can save lives through open and honest sharing of photos and stories via social media and via holding the exhibitions in high profile venues, which hopefully will gain the exhibition free editorial. I hope it will stop people buying from breeders and pet shops and visit a pound for their next dog. 

Have you always been a dog person or was there a transformative moment?

I was never allowed to have a dog when I was young, so when I turned 30 I drove out to the RSPCA in Yagoona to find my first dog. Her name was Daisy and she was a white staffy cross puppy.

Daisy passed away 2 years ago - old age, she was 16, she was a great dog and I still miss her every day. Yes I have always been a dog person.

My transformative moments and a blessing to my life is to have been able to share it with Daisy. I was very lucky to have found her. RIP Daisy. 

Do you live with any non-human companions?

Not at the moment, my partner and I have decided to travel for 1 year so we can't adopt a new non-human companion until we return. When we return I intend to adopt 2 dogs and a cat. All from rescue shelters.

How do you think we can make the world better for companion animals?

I honestly don't know, humans and not very nice to each other and we can communicate. We have to try, we have to use our voices, stories and photos for our companion animals. Through LOVE create understanding. 

Thanks Nick. To keep up with My Human Family click here.