Alice Fay was out for a walk to clear her head when she discovered something she’d never noticed before.
She’d walked down Commonwealth Avenue, a lovely, tree-lined street in Boston, many times before, but this time she noticed a bronze dog peering over a stone gate.
“As I walked by it, I was conversing with my sister who resides in another state,” Fay told The Dodo. “I gasped and stopped talking when I looked over.” I turned around and returned, exclaiming, ‘There’s this statue here, and it’s the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen!'”
Fay was afraid to cry because she imagined the bizarre, life-sized statue of a Labrador seeking for her tennis ball was a monument to a lost pet. So she decided to snap some images and post them on Facebook to ask if anyone knew what happened to the dog monument.
“I wanted to go knock on the door, but I thought it would be strange,” Fay explained.
The monument is owned by Anne Lovett and Steve Woodsum and is modeled after their black Labrador, Piper, according to WGBH.
“We just wanted to add something to our front yard,” Lovett explained to WGBH. “Something that would be a little bit different and visually appealing for passers-by.” Something akin to a small surprise.”
Piper’s life-size statue was commissioned by the couple in 2006 from artist Jim Sardonis for their front lawn. He realized the right stance to depict Piper’s welcoming personality when the dog greeted him by poking her head over the fence.
“I went down to photograph the dog, and we went out into this small front yard, and the first thing the dog did was go and stick her head through the railing,” Sardonis explained to The Dodo.
Lovett came up with the concept to include the tennis ball. “Piper enjoys chasing tennis balls,” Lovett told WGBH. “I felt that it was just a tiny touch of serendipity that people might not notice the first or second time, but maybe the third time.”
For the past 17 years, a bronze Piper has been greeting her neighbors and giving joy to the neighborhood, or at least to those who are fortunate enough to see her.
“It appears to have become an immediate icon.” “Especially with youngsters passing by,” Sardonis commented. “They’d want to pat her head, and it shows in the wearing away of the dark patina to reveal the brilliant bronze underneath.”
Fay was relieved to learn that the statue was a tribute to Piper rather than a memorial. “It made me happy that she was still living while they were making it,” Fay remarked. “It made me wonder why no one had ever done anything like this before.” It was lovely.”
Piper died last year, but her memory lives on in the adorable statue in front of her house.
h/t: The DoDo