Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Sharon Cain
Time for Life Correspondent
5:00 AM 6th August 2022

Global Sensation: Flowers That Tower And Empower

Delighting, elating, and energising us – flowers trigger our happy brain chemicals and can transform our mood. Boosting our well-being and minimising our stress levels, we take them to cheer up sick relatives and friends and lavish them on those we love.

Our Time for Life Correspondent, Sharon Cain, reports from a phenomenal flower display whose creativity and quirkiness turns heads and wins hearts.


Topiary inspiring positivity
Photos: Steve Hare
Topiary inspiring positivity Photos: Steve Hare
Jeff Koons’ vibrant and dynamic Puppy art exhibit, which has traversed the globe, has been closely guarding the Guggenheim since its celebrated opening in 1997.

His thought process was to create an artwork made up of two things that people love and can relate to - puppy and flowers – creating “optimism and security within us”.

The million-dollar question was – what kind of canine would best fit Koons’ vision?

Puppy Love

The New York Times Magazine quotes Koons as saying: “If I had done a poodle, it would have seemed very feminine. And if I had done a Doberman or a sheep dog, it would have come off as masculine. But a West Highland terrier seems neutral that way, which is good, because I don’t want anyone in the audience to feel alienated. It’s a very spiritual piece.”

Puppy on people watch
Puppy on people watch
Thousands of visitors from far-flung corners of the globe, us included, were enchanted, and mesmerised by Puppy.

However, being an exemplary guard dog makes for thirsty work, and Puppy is kept constantly hydrated by over 25 tons of soil watered by an internal irrigation system.

Revitalising Restoration

Flower Power: Puppy’s seasonal blooms
Flower Power: Puppy’s seasonal blooms
Sadly, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for Puppy. Like the work’s real-life counterparts, Puppy’s off days became a challenge which required fixing.

Being exposed to the elements 24x7 meant the artwork’s irrigation system and some of the stainless-steel structure needed replacing.

In an unprecedented development, in 2021 the Guggenheim launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise €100,000 (around £83,600) in donations to restore the ailing canine to peak fitness.

Puppy has also been the focal point of a failed terrorist attack shortly before the museum’s opening 25 years ago.

Three ETA Basque terrorist group members posing as gardeners, were discovered trying to hide grenades and machine guns in Puppy’s flowerpots.

It transpired they were plotting to assassinate the then King of Spain, Juan Carlos, who would be performing the Guggenheim’s inauguration ceremony. Police uncovered the plot, but tragically, an officer was shot dead at close range.

Beautiful Backdrop

The river approach heightens Guggenheim’s grandeur
The river approach heightens Guggenheim’s grandeur
When visiting Puppy, I recommend approaching the glistening Guggenheim from the river to give the museum and the artwork context and perspective.

Masterpiece of renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim transformed Bilbao from an industrial wasteland marred by acts of terrorism into what is arguably the world’s most influential building.

Take time to experience and enjoy the sensational shimmering titanium structure which is breath taking. After absorbing its magnitude, walk around to the front of the museum where Puppy proudly preens amid its architectural magnificence.

Time for rufflection
Time for rufflection
Puppy is undoubtedly incomparable. Lighting up the lives of half a million people who visit the Guggenheim every year, this canny canine - the cleanest and best groomed in the world - deserves a mega round of a-paws!