Country View: Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin – Dog Park Bark – Cottonwood, ID
Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin say being in the dog house is a good thing.
Photo courtesy of Dog Bark Park
Radio interview sources: Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin, Owners, Dog Bark Park
Dennis Sullivan carves wooden dogs with a chainsaw. Years ago he sold 1,500 of them on the QVC network, enabling Dennis and his wife, Frances Conklin, to dream big. So big in fact, they bought a few acres near Cottonwood, Idaho. They set up a public studio called Dog Bark Park, and created the world's largest beagle. "Sweet Willie" is 30-feet-tall and 34-feet-long from nose to tail, and about 14-feet-wide. It's actually a bed-and-breakfast, so when you're in the dog house, Frances says you are literally in it.
You enter in the tummy of the dog, and the main quarters then, if you can imagine, are in the body of the dog," she says. "With, mind you, the bathroom and tub and shower and sink and all are in the hindquarters of the dog. It only made sense that it should be there!"
There's a loft in the head, and a cozy alcove in the muzzle that's perfect for children.
Of course, every giant dog needs to have a fire hydrant. Frances says Dennis was happy to oblige. The creation ended up being a relief point for humans, too.
"My husband built this 13-foot-tall fire hydrant which serves double duty during the summer months as a rest stop for the traveling public because there's quite a distance between official rest stops," says Frances. "So, we've become an unofficial Dog Bark Park rest stop during the summertime."
The couple has also built giant alphabet blocks, a big coffee pot, and even a humongous toaster with a bitten-off piece of bread. Frances says she and Dennis are blessed to have the artistic freedom to create what inspires them.
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