"Like Father Like Daughter"

Like Father Like Daughter, 2022

mask made of paper plates, wire, twine, and dog fur


The way we treat other animals as inherently inferior to humans actively affects their well-being: such as our carelessness for their environment or our willingness to discard them when convenient for us. Our lack of communication, or perhaps lack of care to create communication, does not make them inferior- it just makes them different.

When this piece was in its very beginning stages, I wrote out “I have never been comfortably human, so why should I think that I am more worthy than something else so capable of love?”

This feels as if it holds so much more weight now.

I feel that deeply caring for our pets is not a foreign concept. The unconditional love that they have for us, as well as the other way around, is irreplaceable. Seeing my dog's reaction to me changing my outward appearance to look and smell like her (as I used a bit of her fur on the mask to resemble the highly-recognizable “dog smell”), was such a strange experience for me, and I am guessing for her as well.

A little background: Gracie (my dog) was neglected for a large portion of her life: bouncing from family to family without proper care. She was anxious and quiet. She spent most days hiding in the corner as far away from people as she could manage. Once my partner and I brought her home, she seemed like a different dog entirely. She was full of spunk. She jumps up and down on our laps just to get our attention (despite the fact that she is just too big to do that) and is the sweetest, most excitable dog that I have met. I do not see myself as her “owner,” I see her as my friend. It may be a cliché, but it is true.

When I approached her with the “Crazy Grazie Mask”, as my partner calls it, she was initially very apprehensive. She was confused as to why I was wearing it. She was also confused as to why I was forcing her to sit in front of a camera with me. At each sound of the shutter, she looked directly at the lens in confusion, tilting her head a bit with each click. But, something very peculiar happened: everything changed once she smelled the hair that I put on the mask. The apprehension turned into cuddles as she rubbed her face vigorously on the wire whiskers. I swear that for a split second she recognized me as another dog.

I feel as if I could go on and on about this topic along with this experience, but there is a point where I need the work to speak for itself. I hope you all enjoy not only the numerous photos of my dog but the work itself as well.