Cutie’s Fund, which helps dogs with high-cost medical needs at the Lucas County Dog Warden’s office, will be collecting donations Saturday at MetroBarks, a festival for dogs and their people.
The event returns for its 10th anniversary year from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Swan Creek Preserve Metropark on Airport Highway in southwest Toledo.
Winners in this year’s Pet Idol contest, sponsored by The Blade’s Newspaper in Education program, will be announced during the festival. All proceeds raised through the contest will benefit Planned Pethood, a local animal rescue organization, and The Blade’s Newspaper In Education program, which provides newspapers to teachers for classroom use.
Owners are invited to bring their dogs to the MetroBarks event, which will include music, vendors, children’s activities, and a demonstration by skilled police dogs from the Waterville Police Department.
Dog rescuers and shelters will showcase dogs available for adoption. Participating shelters and rescue agencies are the Lucas County Dog Warden, Toledo Area Humane Society, Planned Pethood, Golden Retriever Rescue Resource, German Shepherd Club of Northwest Ohio, Wood County Humane Society, and 4 Paws Sake.
The event’s sponsors include Karnik, 7-Up, Yark Subaru, The Blade, WTVG-TV Channel 13, and Cumulus Radio.
Local artist Barbara Goodman will be on hand with Cutie, the namesake of Cutie’s Fund. Ms. Goodman, owner of Ceramigraphix, is donating a custom pet tile to the winner of a raffle. Purchase of raffle tickets, which are $1 each or six for $5, will benefit the fund. Cutie will sign a paw-tograph for anyone purchasing $5 worth of raffle tickets.
Cutie was brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in her birth canal, which required emergency care costing more than $1,400. By contributing to Cutie’s Fund, animal lovers can make tax-deductible gifts to help with emergency and life-saving care and for the hospitalization of sick, injured, or mistreated dogs assisted by the dog warden’s office. So far, the fund has helped 15 dogs.
Ms. Goodman of Ottawa Hills has taught art at Owens Community College, is a freelance writer, and is a tutor for those learning English as a second language.
“I made my first dog portrait last summer after a visitor at the Art on the Mall Festival at UT saw the stippled fruit and vegetable tiles at my booth and asked if I’d ever done a dog,” she said. “I said, ‘No, but I’m sure I can.’ She sent me pictures of her collie and that was my first pet commission.”
After that, she picked up several dog commissions and has gone on to do cats, birds, and turtles.
Ms. Goodman takes from four to six hours to create a portrait, not counting glaze and firings. She starts with a photograph, sizes it to a proportion that works aesthetically with the square format, and draws a basic outline on a bisqued tile with pencil and graphite that burns off during firing.
“Often I have to imagine features that don’t show up well in the photos, or I have to slightly re-angle the animal’s profile,” she said. “After hand-drawing the outline, I create the shading, depth, and fur and hair texture with thousands of dots of liquid clay called slip.”
The process usually takes several rounds of painting and firing before the tile is ready to be glazed and fired a final time.
Ms. Goodman has made the decorated tiles for about four years. She originally bought the square tiles about six years ago when she started a Master of Fine Arts degree program, but once she didn’t need them for her original project, she decided to repurpose them. At first, she made geometric-patterned tiles, then she evolved to fruits and vegetables, and from there to animals.
“I thought the story of Cutie’s rescue was pretty great, and that Cutie was pretty cute, that it might be a fun challenge to draw a Chihuahua,” she said. “I thought maybe The Blade could use a tile of Cutie to raise money for the Cutie Fund. It seemed like a fun, in-kind way for me to donate to the fund.”
The idea blossomed for Ms. Goodman to instead donate a custom tile for a raffle winner. For those who don’t win the raffle and who want to buy a tile, Ms. Goodman will donate a portion of the proceeds to Cutie’s Fund.
Blade staff writer Tanya Irwin adopted Cutie from the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office.