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HSPC’s 30th Reigning Cats and Dogs will kick off November 1 on our Facebook page. The week will include pictures, videos, and stories about our history to celebrate our 75th anniversary. The week will end with our Red Carpet event featuring some of our adoptable pets. From 8:00am November 6 – November 14 at 6:00pm our online auction will run at biddingowl.com/hspc.

This year we were lucky to have artist Leon Robertson create an original piece to celebrate our “It’s About the Journey” theme. This line is from the Wizard of Oz and captured our journey through 75 years.

Here is Leon’s artist statement about the piece.

Home Again
An Artist Statement 
by Leon Robertson

Like many artists, I tend to have a lot of symbolism in my art. You look at the details, the colors and the title. Each represents something and you are left to interpret it all on your own. Sometimes you know and sometimes you don’t. But you’re in luck, I am sharing the Home Again story with you.

The short of it is that Home Again was inspired by the story of The Wizard of OZ. Debbie Howell, President of the Humane Society of Pulaski County had the idea of using this story to celebrate the HSPC’s 75 year journey. She felt that Toto represented the story of Every Man, or in this case Every Dog, Cat or Animal. The story of OZ was perfect, as it parallels the HSPC’s mission of finding homes for those they hold in their shelter. Not only do they find homes; they rehabilitate… And in a way, wasn’t that what was happening with the characters in OZ?

I imagined some of my favorite scenes from the movie. The one where Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Toto look across the field of poppies towards the Emerald City. The one where they arrive on the doorstep and ring the doorbell and it works, but it’s not supposed to. The one where the horse changed into four different colors during the celebration. The one where Toto chases after the Siamese cat. What cat? Every person that I know forgot that this happened! This is how they missed the hot-air balloon ride back home. It all created the story that I wanted to tell. And I named the cat OZ.

I got out my inks, pressed play on the OZ soundtrack and began to illustrate this story. I changed the perspective to be where the person that answers the door (you), looks out across the poppy field to take in the distance of their journey. The poppies are symbols of remembrance for all the lives saved and lost within the shelter’s 75 years. If you look closely, some of the flowers are actually hearts inspired by HSPC’s hearts to paws logo. It appears that Toto and OZ arrive during a party. Coincidentally, it happens to be HSPC’s 30th Reigning Cats and Dogs Celebration! Each balloon color represents a shade from the “horse of a different color”. And the Celebrating 75 Years Rainbow was inspired by the fact that the land on which is now HSPC property, was a former chinchilla ranch. In my research of chinchilla ranches, photos of iron ranch arch gates were prominent. This was how I chose to give a nod to the past.

The most important detail: That yellow brick road. It’s sharp turns are symbolic of the hard times and the graceful curves are the good times. There is also a fork in the loop which represents decisions and challenges. There’s the short way, the long way, or one that leads you in circles. The dates listed at the end of the path, represents milestone years for the HSPC. Their inception, the years in which legislation was created to help in the protection of animals and the current year are all etched in the honor bricks. This was inspired by the honor bricks that can be purchased to be added to the HSPC’s “Legacy Sidewalk” leading to their Dog Park.

One final secret is that this illustration, the HSPC’s mission and the yellow brick road was created with LOVE. If you turn the artwork to where the sky is on your left and the title It’s About the Journey is to your right, you will see that the yellow brick road spells LOVE. LOVE is a journey.

P.S.…

Toto’s voice came to me while I was listening to the Oz Soundtrack. The following poem goes to the music of “If I Only…” by Harold Arlen used in The Wizard of Oz. This is what Toto says when you open the door. If only he could speak…

Home Again

By Leon Robertson

I have walked so many hours

Paraded through the flowers

My heart was full of strain

I believed that I would find you

To tell you that I love you

Cause you’re always in my brain

I have stories I could tell you

Hug me tight so I could smell you

Your love I’d surely take

Cause my heart is full of reasons

Like this world has the seasons

But tornadoes take a break!

Do you see?

My long journey

No pleasant walk along the shore

I saw things I swear I never saw before

Then I’d blink

And see some more!

I strummed up all my courage

For this long and lengthy voyage

To find my home again

And to tell you that I love you

Cross my heart I’ll never leave you

(I promised Oz they’d get to meet you)

Hello. I’m home again!