Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
— Anatole France, 19th-century French poet, novelist, and journalist
Clearly in agreement are more than 70 people who sent in photos of their “babies” for a Montauk Library community slideshow called “Pets of Montauk.”
Dogs frolicking on the beach, cats curled on the couch, chickens cuddled by the children, even what appear to be very friendly turkeys, pigs, and rabbits exploring their surroundings. From Patches to Pale Rider to Thor to Simba to Gomez, these pets of Montauk seem well loved, well cared for, and, in the case of a great many dogs and one cat, huge fans of the beach. Visit the library’s Local History Center to see the slideshow, which will be up until March and also includes photos from the library’s archives.
Among them are the two photographs above, which were shot by Ray Smith. He was a fashion and commercial photographer in New York City. He moved to Montauk in the 1940s and worked on assignment for the East Hampton Star in the 1970s, mostly shooting community events and photographs of nature. He also took portraits of children and adults in Montauk, including these two, which represent only a small portion of the library’s extensive collection of his work. Can anyone identify the baby?