Statue of Beloved Labrador Serves Up Smiles on the Boardwalk
By Krista Pfunder
A bronze likeness of Jack, a black Labrador retriever popular for his social media posts, greets passersby along the boardwalk in North Beach. Many stop to snap photos with the statue.
The real Jack was adopted by Dan Dusseau and his family, who quickly discovered that Jack liked to mug for the camera. Soon he became a local celebrity of sorts.
“Dogs really pay attention to clues,” Dusseau says. “When Jack saw a camera or heard a shutter, he knew it was play time with dad. I always goofed around with him, putting blankets, treats and baseball caps on his head.”
Dusseau began sharing the images he captured of Jack, who he adopted in 2009 from Lucky Dog Rescue of Arlington, Va. Soon he had his own Facebook page called “Jack’s World.”
“Jack’s Facebook page had more than 40,000 followers,” Dusseau says. “He had his own webpage, Instagram, Pinterest and videos on YouTube. Jack’s Facebook photos were ‘liked’ a million times one year.”
Sadly, Jack passed away from a brain tumor in February 2018 after chronicling his battle on social media for his fans.
“When he passed, the outpouring and support was amazing,” Dusseau says. “A Jack fan named Pat shared that she read about Jack’s passing and sat in her car and cried for an hour. About a week after, someone suggested a Jack memorial.”
A fan of Jack’s approached the town of North Beach about constructing a memorial to honor the pup. “A Jack memorial group was formed with some of Jack’s fans,” Dusseau says. “We all agreed that we could turn tragedy into triumph. Knowing how much Jack enjoyed having his photograph taken, we figured people would love to take photos with a statue of Jack.”
The statue on the boardwalk in North Beach features a bronze likeness of Jack on a bench. The dog’s exact measurements were used to create the statue. Since Jack’s tongue was often hanging out, the group included a pink tongue. But the group didn’t stop at just a statue.
A new water fountain spouts water for dogs and humans. The color of the fountain was dubbed “Jack blue” by the group. It’s the color of the collar he always wore.
The pandemic threw a slight wrench in the plans to unveil the statue in April. “As time progressed, since all was ready but COVID-19 was lingering, we decided to go ahead with the install and have something positive happen in 2020,” Dusseau says. The statue was unveiled at the end of September and has been a hit ever since.
“Reading people’s comments on social media, there seems to be a sense of pride,” Dusseau says. “One person wrote ‘Look what my town did.’ Another stated: ‘Something to smile about in these difficult days’ and another said it was ‘a way to spread happy.’”
Dusseau enjoys visiting the boardwalk and watching people interact with the statue.
“Sometimes people walk towards Jack thinking it’s a real dog,” Dusseau says.
Dusseau and his family have received messages from Jack supporters telling them that a “Jack visit”—going to see the statue—is now on their bucket list.
If you visit Jack, be sure to look closely to spot another nod to this beloved local. “There’s a squirrel hidden under the bench, because Jack’s fans all knew he was forever battling the squirrels,” Dusseau says.
Editor’s Note: Jack should be well-known to our readers. CBM Bay Weekly wrote about his following in May 2016. https://bayweekly.com/pet-tales/