LOLA, Atomic Sheep Dog Drinking from the Uranium Mine Per Jetsonorama

A shepherd needs a good sheep dog on the reservation in Arizona, that much is clear. One that’s been drinking radioactive water at a uranium mine? That is less clear.

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Jetsonorama. Lola The Atomic Sheep Dog. Cow Springs, Arizona. July 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

But so far Lola has exceeded her charge and performed beyond other sheep dogs here in Cow Springs, says artist Jetsonorama – so much so that she’s become a bit of an artistic muse for him lately. “She is revered here,” says the photographer and street artist, who prefers to spell her name with an exclamation point at the end (Lola!). “Coyotes don’t bother trying to steal any sheep from her flock,” he says, “whereas most flocks of sheep have 3 or 4 sheep dogs per flock, Lola herds several hundred sheep solo.”

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Jetsonorama. Lola The Atomic Sheep Dog. Cow Springs, Arizona. July 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

Radioactive dust and contaminated water is scattered across a large expanse of the Navajo nation, say locals, with many of the 500 or more of these sites estimated to be open and unprotected – or rather protected from people and animals breathing in the air and drinking the water there.

In 2012 the journalist Leslie MacMillan reported in the New York Times about many of these open sites emitting dangerous levels of radiation and folks like Jetsonorama and neighbor ranchers were given a little hope that something would come of it.

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Jetsonorama. Lola’s herd.  The Atomic Sheep Dog. Cow Springs, Arizona. July 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

For now, Lola is Jetsonorama’s emissary of spreading this radioactive message – and she is going strong and rather purple-ish in this desert wall campaign. He’s calling her an atomic sheep dog.

“I first pasted Lola in January of 2014 at cow springs.  I used a wall where I paste regularly and local members of Bloods and Crips go over my work – and then I go back over them. When I paste Lola I tint the background with a graffiti-patterned magenta, then I cut her out of the photo.”

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Jetsonorama. Lola The Atomic Sheep Dog. She does have some canine friends. Cow Springs, Arizona. July 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

It’s unclear whether the presumed radioactive water that Lola laps up has contributed to her performance on the range, or if Jetsonorama has found an effective PR spokes-dog for his campaign to raise awareness of these unprotected uranium mines, but Lola seems like she is owning it.

Right now she’s running solo, although Jetsonorama says she does some occasional socializing. “However, since becoming atomic,” he says, “Lola is THE super sheep dog!”

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Jetsonorama. Lucy’s trailer. Early morning light. Cow Springs, Arizona. July 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

 

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