Parade showcases fiberglass bulldogs

Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana’s pup rides in the parade with the dogs sponsored by McMahon’s Best One Tire, left, Heritage Park, center, and the New Haven Primary School’s “Football Dog.” The BBB pup will be located at the organization’s office on Parnell Avenue in Fort Wayne. (Rod King)

By Rod King

NEW HAVEN — The New Haven Community Foundation and New Haven Chamber of Commerce have joined together on a civic pride fundraiser to create larger-than-life bulldog statues that have been adopted by businesses.

The colossal canines attracted a lot of attention the week of the New Haven Canal Days Festival. Fourteen of the colorfully decorated bulldogs were lined up in front of the New Haven City Building on Lincoln Highway. Then, they were loaded onto two Robinson’s Wrecker Service trucks and hauled along the festival parade route June 8.

Now, all 14 of them are resting on the properties belonging to the organizations or businesses that sponsored their decoration by local artists. In addition, nine small versions (pups) were also decorated and more are expected to be done in the next few months.

The bulldog was chosen because it has been the New Haven High School mascot for decades and is basically considered the city’s mascot, as well. “This was the first-ever public art project undertaken in New Haven,” explained Chamber of Commerce secretary Charlie Hatten. “It not only is a matter of civic pride, but showcased our local art talent.”

Twelve of the dogs will be featured on an individual page of a 2020 calendar that will go on sale later this year.

The large dog decorated with U.S. Military Service emblems by artist Shannen Colter will be placed at the Veterans Memorial in Schnelker Park. It was sponsored by Douglas W. Perkins, CPA. A small version sponsored by the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, also painted by her, will be rotated between American Legion Post 330, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Navy Club Ship 245 in New Haven.

Bulldogs can be seen around New Haven at RE/Max Imagine Real Estate, 221 Lincoln Highway E.; Partner’s 1st Federal Credit Union, 634 Broadway; Robinson’s Wrecker Service, 1721 Lincoln Highway E.; and Heritage Park, 2002 Heritage Park Drive. The fiberglass statues can also be seen at McMahon’s Best One Tire, 3125 Adams Center Road; and 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union, 10915 Isabelle Drive. The Bulldog Consulting Services dog will be on display at its office at 6319 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne.

Other dog sponsors and locations:

• Hockemeyer Eye Care at the Allen County Public Library

• NIPSCO at the New Haven fire station

• Strahan Building Solutions at New Haven High School

• Indiana Physical Therapy at New Haven Primary School

• New Haven Intermediate School to be displayed at the school

• Anonymous at Canal Place

Small bulldogs were purchased by Sam and Molly Graves, Domino’s Pizza, Nietert Insurance, Better Business Bureau, Dairy Queen, New Haven Pet Hospital, Orchid Events and Catering and New Haven Trophy.

Artists participating in the project included Valerie McBride, Troy Ganse, Larry Davis, Kim Linker, Jo Dommer, Shannen Colter, Cara Keefe, Bernadette Weller, Ina Scott and Angela Daniel.

“The project has been more successful than we imagined,” Hatten said. “One person was so impressed with the bulldogs that she is going to put the New Haven Foundation in her estate. Another person purchased a large one for his wife, which she is going to have painted gold to match the color of his car, and a woman in Pennsylvania saw them on Facebook and bought a large one, too.

Cost to purchase a large bulldog was $2,500 and $900 for a small one. That included the bulldog, artist fee, clear coating, concrete base, mounting hardware and a plaque noting the sponsor and the artist. Clear coating of all the bulldogs was done free of charge by Robinson’s Wrecking Service.

Sam Graves, new president of the New Haven Foundation, said the money raised by the sale of the bulldogs will be used to purchase additional Christmas decorations for the city and refurbish the ball diamonds at Havenhurst Park. “We’re also considering doing some public benches,” he added.

Grand marshal of the New Haven Canal Days parade June 8 was Judy Hubbart, the oldest East Allen County Schools employee. She retired at the end of the recent school year. She was transported in the parade on the New Haven Volunteer Fire Department 1925 Studebaker engine. (Rod King)