Scotty, Gardie, and Lucy were important characters in Adirondack history. Never heard of them? Their stories, and the stories of countless others like them, haven’t been told because they were dogs.
In “Dog Days,” Hallie Bond uses oral tradition, photographs, works of art, diaries, and news articles to put an historic perspective on a widely popular subject. The Adirondack region is the setting. This mountainous, rural region that is the size of the state of Massachusetts was ranged over by the Iroquois and Abenaki and their dogs before Europeans moved in. Then, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, settlers, commercial loggers, and urban vacationers — and their dogs — all came. Traditional ways of life were juxtaposed with modern thought and urban ideas. Adirondack dogs have been and are hunters, companions, herders, guards, beasts of burden, and status symbols.
In the process of discussing the images and the history of dogs in this one region, program participants will explore concepts with a broad meaning. How has our concept of sportsmanship changed over time and why? What is a pet? Has this idea changed over time? Why? Do concepts of “sportsmanship” and “pets” depend on whether we’re rural or urban? What is the backstory on selective breeding? To borrow a phrase from author Jonathan Katz, what is the new work of dogs?