Dr. Bernard R. Pinckney (left) with "Team Effort" sculptor Larry Anderson
Art, according to Dr. Bernard R. Pinckney, is a valuable tool for communicating and promoting understanding. Art encapsulates the values a society holds as good and desirable, while also inspiring people to action.
But the veterinarian from Washington state believes his profession has made too little use of art to express in new and imaginative ways the heart and philosophy of veterinary medicine.
To this end, Dr. Pinckney commissioned internationally known artist Larry Anderson to create "Team Effort," a life-size bronze statue depicting the human-animal bond and embodying the hands-on approach to veterinary preventive medicine.
Dr. Pinckney donated the statue to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, of which he is a member of the board of directors. The AVMF dedicated "Team Effort" to the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad, who pioneered the field of the human-animal bond, during a May 29 ceremony on the grounds of AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill.
"I believe that cultural art projects and landscaping will provide a new look at veterinary medicine in a cultural way and will better paint the AVMA and AVMF in an entirely new window of visibility," Dr. Pinckney said. "[The statue] will provide a universal model for others to emulate."
"Team Effort" shows a girl who has brought a basketful of kittens to be examined by her veterinarian. The girl's dog watches over the kittens as they escape the basket and play at the veterinarian's feet.
"'Team Effort' embodies the most basic relationship in our honored profession," said AVMF board chair, Dr. William R. Van Dresser.
The human-animal bond is the special connection between humans and animals. A colleague of Dr. Pinckney, Dr. Bustad committed himself to raising awareness of the positive effects animals can have on human health and personal development.
That bond was never more evident than last fall when a grieving nation watched the "valiant efforts" of the search-and-rescue dogs and their handlers at the remains of the twin towers in New York City, Dr. Van Dresser said. The AVMF is proud to have supported the veterinarians treating many of the dogs at ground zero, he added.
Members of the AVMA and AVMF boards and other notables attended the dedication ceremony. AVMA President James H. Brandt presented Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson with a miniature replica of the statue, or mackette, that will be displayed at village hall.
On behalf of the Executive Board, Dr. Brandt honored Dr. Pinckney with a resolution of appreciation. "Team Effort's visibility on the grounds of the American Veterinary Medical Association will be a reminder to all visitors of the significant role veterinarians play in animal and human well-being," the resolution reads, in part.
An emotional Anderson said it was a pleasure to be associated with the veterinary profession and the AVMA and AVMF. In addition to "Team Effort," he created "The Caring Call" for Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine and "Continuum" for the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Most recently, Anderson was commissioned to work on a statue of Abraham Lincoln and his family to be displayed in Springfield, Ill.
Anderson recounted how, during the developmental stages of "Team Effort," the kitten used for the statue would sometimes disfigure the clay model of the veterinarian piece by climbing up the figure's leg, resulting in a half hour of surface repairs.
The kitten's rambunctiousness took on special meaning for the artist. "It made me cognizant of the special skills veterinarians need to treat patients who don't necessarily have treatment on their agenda," Anderson said.
A limited number of mackettes are available for purchase for $2,550, with proceeds being used to support the AVMF. Those who purchase a miniature replica will have their name engraved on a recognition plaque at the statue base. For additional information, contact Susan Hacker of the AVMF at (847) 285-6687.