An Act of Dog raising money for animal shelters

By Paige Hobbs

[email protected]

Mark Barone, a local artist, along with his wife Marina Dervan, have devoted the past two years to creating a memorial for shelter dogs who have been killed because they were unable to find homes, consisting of 5,500 portraits.

The couple are co-founders of An Act of Dog, a charity that essentially speaks for those who have no voice. The goal is to raise $20 million for animal shelters across the U.S. that do not participate in the act of euthanizing.

The inspiration for creating such a charity arose from the death of Barone’s 21-year-old canine companion and a move from St. Louis, Mo., to Santa Fe, N.M.

The couple began traveling and visiting other dog parks in attempt to cope with the loss of their companion.

After a period of time, Dervan thought it was time to bring a new dog into the family and began doing research online for local adoption centers. Much to Dervan’s surprise, cute puppies needing a home were not the only thing she found online.

“To my surprise, I found all these horrifying statistics about animals being killed in shelters. I was shocked and outraged,” Dervan said.

She immediately began sending Barone the graphic videos and statistics about animals being killed in shelters if they were not adopted.

Astonished, and realizing how powerless the animals were, the couple began questioning what they could do to raise awareness for this situation.

“I am going to paint the number of dogs that are killed every day and create something that will raise attention to this problem that is not well known,” Barone said.

Barone has successfully painted 5,500 portraits of dogs that have been euthanized. The couple is currently looking for a city where their museum of memorials can be displayed.

Having received various offers from cities within the U.S., the pair explained, “We don’t have a particular vision of a state or town in mind. It’s all about the partnership. Does the city understand the objective of the museum?”

Not only does the couple desire to raise awareness for this unknown issue, but they desire to bring cultural diversity into the city that houses their museum. Revitalizing a city and developing a cultural, tourist destination is a large part of the overall goal of the An Act of Dog charity.

The charity is completely non-profit, therefore the couple is looking for a city that will donate property. One hundred percent of the money that goes into the $20 million fund will go to shelters that are transforming themselves into no kill, as well as towards medical needs and rehabilitation.

A portion of the money raised will go back into the city that houses the project.

“We’re not doing it for any personal gain. It is purpose driven and does not help either of our careers,” Barone said.

Further information on how to support An Act of Dog charity can be found online at the website: