Jeff Dorson freely admits that the Humane Society fundraiser he’s organizing has gone to the dogs.
“We invited people to enter ‘cat condos’ in addition to dog houses this year, but no one stepped up. I guess you could say that cats are under-represented,” he said.
“Barkitecture,” now in its second year, is aptly dubbed for the array of fanciful pooch palaces available for viewing and purchase (but only if you are the high bidder).
Proceeds go to the Humane Society of Louisiana, a 27-year-old advocacy group that makes prosecution of animal cruelty cases its top priority.
Entries will be on view daily at Lakeside Shopping Center during regular mall hours, beginning Sunday, Sept. 20, and continuing through Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m., when the winners of the competition will be announced.
“We should have about 10 or 12 entries, a couple of more than we had our first year,” said Dorson. “Entrants will compete for the title of ‘Most Original’ and ‘Best in Show,’ as well as the ‘People’s Choice Award’ in case the celebrity judges miss the mark.”
Dorson said that participants have unleashed their imaginations to create functional but highly original canine cribs.
“One standout will be a post-Katrina house with spray-painted markings, and Billy Nungesser is sponsoring one that is painted like an elephant because of his party affiliation,” he said. “Dot’s Diner has hired a carpenter to make a replica that can work as doghouse, and First Bank and Trust and Jefferson Feed both have entries. Eventually, we might have a whole little city.”
The Humane Society has capitalized on the current mania for dogs with “Barkitecture” competitions in various cities.
The term has been used for the title of a 1999 book on “dogscaping,” and many home and garden shows nationally feature some kind of exhibit for dog lovers seeking trendy digs.
Samsung recently unveiled a $30,000 tech-equipped canine abode that features a dining area with an electronic feeder, an exercise area with a treadmill, a hydrotherapy pool and a sleep chamber.
The fundraising goal of the Lakeside event is about $10,000, and proceeds will help the Humane Society re-establish an office in New Orleans, 10 years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed its local office. Since then, the society has been operating out of Tylertown, Mississippi, and Mount Hermon, the site of a 47-acre refuge for animals including cats, dogs, horses and birds.
Winners of the competition will be richly rewarded, said Dorson.
“They’ll get a pat on the back,” he said. And maybe if they’re really good, they’ll get a tummy rub, too.
Go to humanela.org to view entries and bid online.