Alice Fay stumbled across something she hasn’t noticed before one day on her walk to clear her mind.
While strolling down Commonwealth Avenue, which is a beautiful tree-lined street in Boston, she spotted a bronze dog statue peeking through a stone fence.
“I was chatting with my sister who lives in a different state as I walked by it. I looked over and I gasped and stopped talking. I turned around and went back and said, ‘There’s this statue here, and it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!’”
Fay was immediately attracted to the mysterious statue and assumed that the life-sized statue of a Labrador which is searching for her tennis ball was a memorial to a lost pet. Fay desperately wanted to know the story behind it, but worried that she might cry, she decided to rather take some photos and share then to Facebook with the hopes that someone knew the story behind the dog statue.
“I wanted to go knock on the door, but I thought it would be weird,” Fay said.
According to WGBH, the statue belongs to Anne Lovett and Steve Woodsum and is modelled after their black Labrador, Piper. Lovett explained to WGBH, "We wanted to add just something to our front yard. Something that would be a little bit unique and visually interesting for people coming by. Something, sort of, like a little surprise."
The couple commissioned sculptor Jim Sardonis back in 2006, to create the life-sized statue of their beloved Piper for their front garden. The moment Piper greeted him by sticking her head through the fence, he immediately knew that was the perfect pose to capture Piper’s friendly personality.
Sardonis added, “I went down to take photos of the dog and we went out into this little front yard and the first thing the dog did was go and put her head through the railing.”
Lovett also got the idea to add Pipers favourite tennis ball. "Piper loves chasing tennis balls. I felt as though it was just a little bit of serendipity that people might not notice the first time or the second time, but maybe the third time they would see it.” The bronze Piper statue has been greeting neighbours for 17 years, bringing joy the street and the people lucky enough to spot her.
“It became an instant icon, apparently. Especially with children walking by," Sardonis said and added, “They would want to pat her head, and it shows some of that in the wearing away of the dark patina to the shiny bronze underneath.”
Fay was more than happy to learn that the statue was created as a tribute instead and not a memorial. “It made me feel good that she was still alive when they had it made. It made me wonder why no one else had ever done something like this. It was beautiful.”
The adorable Piper unfortunately passed away last year. However, she will always live on in her parent’s heart as well as the sweet statue in front of her home.