Photos Expose Dog Dilemma



BAR HARBOR — When Tatiana Aguayo was growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, she was obsessed by dogs and distressed by the innumerable strays that wandered through the city. “Seeing so many stray dogs, some so sick, always broke my heart,” the College of the Atlantic senior says. “I always wanted to do something about it.” Returning recently to work in Colombia, Ms. Aguayo decided to focus her senior project on exposing the dogs’ plight.

Ms. Aguayo’s photography exhibit, “Doggie Style,” features the stray dogs of Colombia-and some of the people who care for them. The exhibit runs from Saturday, May 23 through Tuesday, May 26, with a reception on Monday, May 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

In taking photographs of the dogs, Ms. Aguayo noticed that the wealthier areas of the city had removed strays to pounds. She also found that at the pounds, the dogs are almost immediately killed, and not through very humane methods.

“I ended up going to the outskirts of the city, to shantytowns, where there were stray dogs everywhere,” Ms. Aguayo says. “People live in terrible conditions and so the dogs, too, are ignored.”

And then Ms. Aguayo found a homeless man, Acacio, who adopts stray dogs, feeds them, and takes them to the veterinarian. “He has nothing, but he shares it with 24 dogs,” she says. She decided to make her photo essay a contrast between his dogs and the strays.

“It’s a lesson to be learned,” Ms. Aguayo says. “Someone who has nothing is taking on this project to take care of these dogs.” And though people ask Acacia if he’d sell his dogs, he refuses, she says. Instead, he directs them to the pound to try to save another dog.

Ms. Aguayo also is staging an Internet photo essay that also tries to call attention to the plight of the dogs at www.doggystylephotoessay.org.

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