This is soo cool and the kids will love it!
Following is a copy of an article from The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. If you are a registered user of the Commerical Appeal site, this link should take you directly to their posting of the article.
EPE will sponsor the first statue for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County.
Click here to see Buddy featured in the Elvis.com Photo Spotlight.
Buddy cast in star role
Rescued dog's image will raise Humane Society funds
By David Flaum
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
When the folks at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County hunted for a spokesman for their 75th anniversary fund-raising campaign, they settled on one who couldn't speak.
However, he could bark.
Buddy, the three-legged black Lab rescued north of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, will appear throughout the area next summer -- mostly in the form of 75 specially decorated 44-inch-high plaster statues.
"He really is part of the family, and that's why it kind of jelled," said Andrew Israel, vice president of advancement, referring to Buddy, who lives at the Humane Society's new digs on Farm Road.
For $1,500 each, sponsors in the Dog Daze of Memphis project will get Buddy statues decorated to their liking by Memphis artists. The Humane Society will let the dogs out July 1. Sponsors may keep them until Oct. 31.
Elvis Presley Enterprises will sponsor Buddy 1, which will sit in the Graceland visitors plaza-welcome center.
Will he have wavy black hair and long sideburns?
"We haven't decided on a design yet, but the leading idea is going to be around the '68 television special," said Jack Soden, president of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
The December special was the highest-rated show of the year, he said.
"Elvis wore a black leather outfit and sang "If I Can Dream," written as an emotional response to the events of the time," Soden said. "It kind of re-ignited Elvis' career."
And surveys of his fans put the black-leather suit at the top of the King's clothing tree, he said.
Angela Goza, the Memphis artist who will design and paint the Graceland dog, is on board with that idea.
Buddy 1 will probably have at least a suggestion of a pompadour hairdo and, of course, blue eyes, she said.
Some of Goza's works are on display in the new Humane Society headquarters.
"I'm a longtime donor and supporter," she said. And she adopts animals from the shelter, including Aida Velveeta, the cat she took on 10 years ago.
As for the Graceland contribution, Soden said, EPE is a longtime supporter of the Humane Society.
"This is a way to be a good corporate citizen," he said. "We've got 450 employees who have families, children and pets."
Elvis filled the mansion with pets -- a chimpanzee, peacocks, horses, Soden said, "And there were always dogs at Graceland."
The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Harrah's Entertainment have plans to take two statues each, and Thompson & Berry Public Relations will sponsor one.
That dog will be in the window of the Downtown agency office, looking out over Peabody Place toward the Orpheum, said Ralph Berry, president.
No design has been picked.
The firm worked with the Humane Society on advertising and public relations.
"It's an organization we're invested with, so it just made sense" to sponsor a Buddy, Berry said.
On Nov. 1, that dog and the others will be collected for an adoption auction, Israel said. Sponsors get the first shot at their own dogs.
The Humane Society will also put together a coffee table book with photos of the dogs, artists and corporate sponsors, along with a history of the agency and animal welfare tips.
Replicas of the statues may be part of the fund-raising program as well. Israel said the group hopes the Buddies will help it raise $125,000 to use in the operating budget.
"It's a fun project," he said. "It's about community awareness."