I came too late. The dog's been deconstructed.
I call Don Kennell. He verifies, yes, the dog's been packed into the truck. He'll be back at the dog-less site within an hour. We agree to meet. Kennell gives me a run-down, the 411 of "the situation."
"We still have to remove the tracks," he says. Kennell and that wild pack of volunteers will continue removing, piece by piece, relics of the iron dog's existence. Nov. 17, a day of erasure.
How many volunteers does it take to dismantle a 20-foot dog? Six, exactly six.
When asked the inevitable question, "What do you do?" Don Kennell answers, "Well, I did that big dog in the Railyard."
When I finally catch up with Kennell, five of the six volunteers disbanded, and Kennell sits on a park bench with Brian McDaniel, the final volunteer. The space where the dog once stood, tail out and snout up, is now a blank patch of dust. "It's definitely bittersweet," Kennell says.
The dog's 14-month exhibition was part of an "Art in the Park" program. Kennell explains that the city was loaning the sculpture on a temporary basis—a foster home—and now Kennell's amid talks, seeking a suitable, permanent home for the dog. "The adoption fees are steeper than your average mutt," he says. And then Brian pipes in, "But, it's been neutered!"
"The piece has kind of a funny origin," Kennell says.
It trails back to the Renaissance (or a little before), a bronze sculpture, the "Capitoline Wolf," which alludes to the founding of Rome. A she-wolf stands and beneath her teet are two suckling "cherub babies," Romulus and Remus. The dog was built in-homage to the ancient sculpture.
"That's the heavy version," Kennell tells me, "the light version is it's a dog."
It now looks vacant and bare without the dog. I'm gonna miss the little guy.