Statue of Auditor, the Strip Mine Dog
Auditor was a strange dog. For more than 17 years he lived alone in the barren waste dumps, leach pads, and mine roads surrounding the rim of the huge Berkeley Pit strip mine in Butte, Montana. He was an unfriendly, dirty mutt, resembling a pile of stained rags. The dog shunned human contact, but the miners respected his toughness and named him "Auditor" because he would always show up when least expected.
They built him a shanty, made him a bed of rags, and left food and water for him. Auditor defied conventional wisdom that said nothing could live in the toxic Superfund site. The peaceful looking "pond" in the Berkeley Pit is poisonous enough to kill birds, as several hundred snow geese discovered when they landed on it in 1995.
Even before he died in 2003, money was raised to build a monument to the dreadlocked dog. The larger-than-life, 300 pound bronze statue with a copper patina (the Berkeley Pit was a copper mine) has been displayed in a local coffee shop, then a shopping mall, and currently the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce. The statue will eventually be put on permanent display at the Berkeley Pit Viewing Stand, along with a plaque telling Auditor's story. The dog no doubt would use it as a urinal.
October 2006: The statue of Auditor is currently on display at the Chamber, Visitor and Transportation Center.