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WHS big red dog

Jay Woody of Mequon has donated this 15-foot-long sculpture he made to the Wisconsin Humane Society, which plans to place it, in about early May, at the site of its planned new humane shelter at 16th and 90th streets in Mount Pleasant to raise awareness of its capital campaign to build that shelter.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Wisconsin Humane Society hopes to get some help with its fundraising for a new Racine-area campus from, naturally, a dog.

A really, really big dog.

WHS has been given, unsolicited, a bright red, 15-foot-long sculpture of a dachshund. Jay Woody of Mequon made the 1,500-pound piece and donated it for any purpose the organization cared to make of it, said WHS spokeswoman Angela Speed.

So, in about early May, the dog sculpture is to be placed at the northeast corner of 16th and 90th streets, where WHS plans to build a new, state-of-the-art, 16,000-square-foot animal shelter. The new building would replace the existing one at 2706 Chicory Road, which started as a potato barn, and will double its size.

“We’d like to place (the sculpture) at the site of the future shelter to raise awareness of the project,” Speed said.

Woody, an engineer for Captive Air, explained how the as-yet-unnamed big red dog came into being. “I had done yard-size things,” he said. “It was going to be in my yard, but it just turned out too spectacular.”

Woody chose a dachshund at the outset. “They’re cartoonish already,” he commented, and he made his even a little longer to accentuate that aspect.

“I just wanted people to laugh when they see it,” he said.

Having started it at Thanksgiving, Woody worked on his dog on weekends in his shop in Grafton. He built a lightweight exoskeleton of wire, then “foamed it” with a construction foam. Woody carved that, then covered it with concrete. Finally, he added a coating of epoxy, which happened to be red.

Woody calculated the sculpture’s weight by adding the weights of the component materials.

The finished creation is amazingly strong, he said. “Ten people could stand on it.”

Fundraising helper

When Woody realized his big red dog was too grand for his own yard, he thought about which organizations he could give it to and “ways to do good for the community.” He chose WHS, which is trying to raise $5.4 million for the future humane shelter on its 5-acre site in Mount Pleasant, and was happy to accept the gift.

However, Speed quipped, “He certainly needs a larger, more comfortable home, though, not unlike the rest of the animals at the Racine campus.” (She explained that she thinks of Woody’s dog as a “he” because of her 5-year-old daughter’s love of Clifford the Big Red Dog.)

So far, WHS said it has raised $1.37 million in its capital campaign to build the new shelter here, “much of which was contributed by Racine individuals and businesses including the Johnson Family Foundation, SC Johnson, Andis Company Foundation, Educators Credit Union and many animal-loving individuals and families.”

The building, planned to be constructed on land purchased by the WHS in late 2016, is to feature expanded housing for animals, space for community involvement and a modern veterinary clinic for shelter animals.

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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