Published on July 23rd, 2014 | by Kate Albert Ward


Third Annual Be Kind to Animals

I don’t know how to communicate how much I adore my cat Ellinore without sounding a little nutty. I come from a family that isn’t really into animals – though we kids insisted upon having everything from birds and snakes to guinea pigs and fish, we never had anything free-roaming- so I am well-aware of how my obsession looks to the disinterested and uninitiated. We openly joke that it’s probably the mind-controlling parasites that cats carry that make me so smitten. But honestly, I don’t care. Whatever the underlying source that draws us together may be, Ellinore brings me a lot of joy.

I think Ellinore is exceptional, and I find myself dwelling on any tidbit that nourishes this view point. It’s common knowledge among friends and acquaintances that my dad really doesn’t like cats. But you know what everyone? He thinks Ellinore is cute.

Just recently, Ellinore has decided that the most delicious water is that which comes from the bathtub faucet. She has started waking me up at 5:45am (or earlier) every morning for a drink, and though I’m sane enough to admit that it’s annoying, I also think it’s pretty charming.

Call me crazy, but I know that many other Tacomans feel the same way about their pets as I feel about Ellinore. To honor this shared sentiment, I present to you my third annual Be Kind to Animals article, which includes a series of historical photos paired with their contemporary counterparts below.

As a part of this call to kindness, I ask you to consider supporting the Tacoma-Pierce County Dog-a-Thon, a Humane Society fundraiser for homeless pets at Fort Steilacoom Park on July 26th. To get involved, you can raise money and participate in the walk, donate directly, and/or spread the word.

One way to donate is through the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee’s Dog-a-Thon campaign. Blogger and kitten-wrangler extraordinaire, Laurie Cinotto  has outdone herself again with her adorable team of kitten telethoners (must see: Kittens of Mass Destruction). As of publication, Laurie has raised $85,091 – help her meet her goal to raise $100,000 to help homeless cats and kittens.

Another annual event that supports the well-being of our animal friends is Woofstock  This event is a meet-and-greet of sorts for homeless pets and potential owners. The event’s presenters, the Dugan Foundation and Pawsitive Alliance, hope to surpass their goal of 100 adoptions this year in an effort eradicate euthanasia as a means of population control.The festive event, which includes live music, will be on Saturday August 2nd, 10am to 3pm, on Todd Field at the University of Puget Sound.

All historical images are courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archivesone of Tacoma’s most important and loved research resources.

Mayor’s Best Friend

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

Newly elected Mayor M.G. Tennent poses on the front steps of his home with his dog shortly after a sweeping political victory. In 1926, the young and progressive Tennent defeated four-time Mayor Angelo Fawcett. Voters came out in large numbers and also elected a whole new roster of City Council members, ousting every single incumbent.

A few of the other images of Tennent in the library image archives show him with a heavyweight boxer, an airplane, a ship called Old Iron Sides, a polar explorer, and the MGM lion. Of all of his photographic posing partners, his dog is by far the most charming and endearing.

We all need a break at the end of a long hard day of work. For Mayor Marilyn Strickland, this respite is embodied by her dog, Hochi.  “It doesn’t matter how awful your day is,” says Mayor Strickland,  “when you come home to a dog, it just puts everything into perspective. Dogs are all about love. And they’re just really funny.”

A wide-grinning Frenchie with perky ears, Hochi has garnered his own fan club over the years. “He’s part cat,” Mayor Strickland adds as he contorts his body into the perfect toenail-chewing position. Hochi will be 9 years old in August and his favorite activities are eating, sleeping, playing chase, and watching the Mayor while she cooks.

Photograph by Kali Raisl.

Beethoven’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

Taken in December of 1957, this photograph was commissioned by the Washington Cooperative Farmers Association, which did producer-owned marketing, sold eggs from an egg-shaped truck, and bought feed co-operatively. St. Bernards share ancestry with other large working dogs and were bred to rescue people overcome by ice and snow in the mountains. The farm dogs in this image sit obediently with the two bundled children who smile, at ease under their watch.

Saint Bernards

University of Washington Tacoma professor Elle Moore’s St. Bernards get a lot of attention when she takes them out and about. Bred for alpine rescues, it’s not very often that you see such a massive dog trundling about town, let alone two. Having been trolling the image archives for a few years while working on this series, I was compelled to awkwardly burst out of my car and call out to Moore when I saw her walking her dogs.

The bigger dog, ten-year-old Chewbacca, came to Tacoma with Elle from Illinois. “He is good natured and smart,” says Elle, “and is a very good uncle to little Princess Leia.” Eight-month-old Leia, in her harmless puppy fashion, likes to test Uncle Chewie’s patience by chewing on his legs, neck, and face – wherever he will let her.

Photograph courtesy of the author.

The Cat’s Pajamas

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

With slicked hair and a debonair bathrobe, this baby is all ready for his family portrait session. Taken in 1949, the son of James and Ada Holroyd watches the family cat playing with a ball. They sit in comfortable proximity, respecting each others space while still acknowledging the others company. I like to think that Baby Holroyd’s attire is an anachronistic retort to the rise of adult footie pajamas.

While Baby Holroyd looks like he’s never had a fun day in his life, the son of Jennifer and Scott Haydon, Theo, looks like he’s all tuckered out after a grand adventure. Jasper the cat appears to have contributed to the fun, even permitting sleeping Theo to drape his leg across his back. “He’s extremely tolerant even when Theo is a little rough.” says Jennifer. “Jasper will seek Theo out and Theo will seek him out.”

In addition to Jasper, the Haydons also have chickens with the most clever and illustrious names: Lady Bird Johnson, Margaret Hatcher, Eleanor Roosterfelt, Susan Beak Anthony,  Emily Chickenson and Amelia Egghart.

Photograph by Jennifer Haydon.

Lassie Come Home

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

These adorable puppies suspended in stockings from a clothesline are the offspring of Fritz and Georgia Glenewinkle’s Collie dog. A little girl, ostensibly their daughter, holds one in her lap while the others patiently wait for their modeling session to be over.

If this were a different kind of website, the mama dog would get a caption like this “I don’t always have puppies, but when I do, I have nine and they are damn cute.” The photograph, most likely for a holiday greeting card, was taken in December of 1950.

The image above shows Sarah Berkley, co-founder of The Art Dept., with daughter Elliot and their dog Lucy. Lucy joined the family less than a year ago, but, in Sarah’s words:

“As soon as Lucy came home with us, she became an inextricable part of our family. We love all the classic traits of the old-fashioned farm collie that she so gloriously embodies — the gentle disposition, the intelligence, the playful nature. But, like any dog, she’s so much more than a breed. She’s the goofball, the loafer, the thing-dismantler, the child herder, the cuddler, the food detective, the toddler jungle gym and the furry exclamation point to all we do and all we feel. She has made our family her official job—even if she’s never quite mastered the complexities of such a confusing undertaking—by God, but she’s going to do it to the fullest extent of her soulful being.”

Photograph by Peter Berkley, the other half of The Art Dept.

 Teacher’s Pet

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

Taken in 1955, this image displays a guinea pig center stage, surrounded by five teachers from Annie Wright. A rodent that originates from South America, guinea pigs live between five to seven years. They were domesticated for food as early as 5000 BC. In the 17th century, they became widely popular as pets in England, likely spurred on by Queen Elizabeth I’s pet guinea pigs. Like the macabre origination of food as pet and vice versa, animals in the classroom probably started out as a part of science curriculum.

Try as I might, I could not find a teacher with a classroom guinea pig. My teacher friends all reported that they weren’t allowed to have animals with fur. Realizing that the class lizard or fish is the contemporary equivalent of the historical guinea pig, I introduce to you Sherman, the beta fish. He lives happily in the classroom of Ashleigh Rose, who teaches in the learning resource center at Evergreen Primary School. Ashleigh teaches children with disabilities and Sherman helps them  to take a break when they are feeling anxious or distracted.

Ashleigh says, “I tell them Sherman is sensitive and needs kids to be calm and quiet when they are close to him and they tend to whisper. They love to feed him, so sometimes Sherman gets fed a few times a day and that’s ok! I fish out the extra food when they leave so the fish is taken care of too. The kids take turns reading aloud to Sherman. They love him and after seeing the effect he has on the kids I think every classroom should have a pet!”

Why did the chicken…

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

In the early 20th Century, Tacoma boasted a robust annual poultry show. This picture, which showcases four prize-winning chickens, was taken in 1926 when the show was in its 29th year. The chickens are being held by saleswomen from the Rhodes Brothers department store in downtown Tacoma. The chickens are, from left to right a Rhode Island red Cockerel, a Buff Orpington Cockerel, a white Wyandotte hen, and Buff Plymouth pullet. Why did the chickens cross through Rhodes? To promote Tacoma as a publicity stunt. (And should you balk at this gross play on words, consider that some Washington highways once bore signs that said “All roads lead to Rhodes.”)

The buxom brood of chickens above belongs to Anne Daily, who serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Hilltop Artists where I also work. In pecking order, they are Betty (black and white striped), Our Lady the Queen (aka Queenie, the biggest one and all black), Fishstick (orange and lays blue eggs), and Agatha (gray). Gloria and Roslyn are the two youngest, which not only puts them at the bottom of the pecking order, but also making them easier to catch.

Anne, on the left, holds Gloria, while I awkwardly hold Roslyn, on the right. As one who truly appreciates a good egg, I was very pleased to meet Anne’s darling chickens. Anne just got Gloria and Roslyn in the last couple of months after she was inspired by “Once Upon a Flock” by Lauren Scheuer. “Coming from rural Iowa,” says Anne,  “I love having a piece of country in the city as well as fresh eggs. My favorite part of having backyard chickens is watching their full spectrum of antics: Queenie is quite regal and calm, and then there’s Fishstick who’s a batty escape artist.”

Photograph by Kyle Ward.

Pretty Polly

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

The Tacoma Daily Ledger printed this picture of a woman and her parrot in 1922. Though unidentified, she lived with her bird at the Widows Home of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The GAR was a fraternal organization for veterans of the American Civil War that ceased to exist when their last member died in 1956. The former mansion of Ezra Meeker became the Ladies of the GAR Home in 1915, and many of the women who lived there survived well into their nineties. The woman in this picture looks weathered and weary, but a slight smile graces her face as she gazes upon her perched pet parrot.

A crowd was already starting to gather around David when I approached him at Art on the Ave. He was standing in front of the Tacoma Food Coop with a startlingly green parrot on his shoulder. Clearly happy to be the ambassador for such a beautiful bird, I began to ask David all my questions about his lovely companion. The bird, named JP, is a Solomon Islands Eclectus who has only been in the care of David for a few weeks. He is eleven years old and will likely live for another thirty years or so.

When asked if he talks by another onlooker, David responded that though he does talk, it’s of his own volition, to which JP responded, “Whoa!” David explained that JP can be shy around people, but that he has been bringing him out to events ever since he got him. “Sometimes he hides behind my afro,” he added with a smile.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library Image Archives

When the Tacoma Times sponsored a pet parade in 1935, Joe Heitman dressed in his best and joined in the fray. Over 1,000 children marched in the procession down Broadway and Pacific Avenue. The Tacoma Times handed out free movie tickets to participants, as well as awarded over 50 prizes. The historical records indicate that Joe’s duck won a prize for Best Trained Duck, but they neglect to mention if there were any competitors in his division.

The image above belongs to a series of photos of Tacomans reading in bed, organized by local artist Lynn Di Nino. Tim Farrell, who is a Legislative Advocacy Consultant for the Washington State PTA, curls up with his male goose, Will, to read some childhood classics. Will is just one of several birds that Tim keeps, including chickens. Photograph reproduced with permission from the artist.


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About the Author

A writer for Post Defiance, Kate has done freelance writing for the Museum of Glass, The South Sound User's Guide, and 19th-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Kate’s previous experience includes working as the Kress Foundation Interpretive Fellow at the Portland Art Museum, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor for Portland State University. Kate currently works at Hilltop Artists, a youth development program that uses glass arts to connect young people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to better futures.

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