Friday, February 12, 2016

Don, the MoMA Guard Dog

In June 1933, Don, a German Shepherd, was given to The Museum of Modern Art by Vanity Fair magazine’s kennel department.  Don was two years old, weighed 80 pounds, had very strong, white teeth and had completed a short training course in “museum management” and burglar detection.
Don’s duties began at 6:00 p.m. He was not kept on a leash, so he could roam freely to smell any thieves. During the daytime Don slept in the backyard of the Museum, or chased stones thrown by Museum staff. In the afternoons he was taken to the penthouse and allowed to run or sleep in the sunlight on the roof.
However just one short month after Don’s hiring, reports arose that his professional watchdog performance had rapidly deteriorated. The aesthetic environment evidently brought a complete change in the savage beast. Don became so gentle and friendly that the museum officials had to train him all over again to make him suspicious of strangers.

Read more at MoMA

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