Read an Excerpt
OVER THE YEARS I've learned that there are countless ways in which a dog can make a difference in a person's life. There's the unconditional love that a dog offers his owner every minute of every day; the laughter a dog brings her owner by just, well, being a dog; the sense of responsibility an owner gets from taking care of another being; and, as proven by my pug, Buster, who proudly graces the cover of this book, sometimes a dog can take its owner on a three-year photographic adventure across the country.
You may or may not be able to tell from the way he's looking at you, but about five years ago Buster went blind. I asked a friend of mine at the Humane Society of New York if she thought anything could be done to restore Buster's sight, and she recommended a doctor who ended up saving some of the vision in his right eye. As a way of saying thank you, I donated one of my photographs to the Humane Society of New York for them to auction off at one of their fund-raisers. The print sold, and the proceeds went toward helping many dogs in need of rescue. (In case you're wondering, the photo that was auctioned is the one on the cover of this book. And no, I don't dress Buster in my hats regularly just when I go surfing, so he knows I'm coming back.)
With Buster once again healthy and happy and numerous dogs being helped by the sale of a single photograph, I thought, Why stop there? and I resolved to put together a book of photographs and donate all of my proceeds to no-kill shelters. My wife, Courtney, observed that the only thing people love more than photos of dogs are photos of celebrities, and suggested that I start photographing celebrities with their dogs. So every time I worked on a commercial shoot, I'd try to track down celebrities through my friends and colleagues and photograph them withtheir dogs. Courtney was right it was a perfect combination. Later as I put together the book, the celebrities and two shelters, the Humane Society of New York and Much Love Animal Rescue in Los Angeles, went above and beyond, providing quotes about what their dogs have done for them over the years and offering advice for rescuing and caring for pets.
For three years I drove people crazy, asked for a lot of favors, slept on my fair share of couches, and logged a significant amount of time in rental cars. During this period I met with willing celebrities whenever they had a chance, wherever they felt like meeting, and with whatever toy their dogs felt like bringing on that particular day. I'd show up with my Leica M6 camera and a pocketful of black-and-white film, and for fifteen to thirty minutes, the dogs ran the show. The result is an eclectic mix of familiar faces, people who unabashedly love their dogs and who want every dog to have a good home and a good life, and who know that you can rescue a dog, you can take care of a dog, and you can love a dog, and that dog will rescue, care for, and love you right back.
I'm grateful to Buster for teaching me this lesson, and I'm grateful to you for buying this book and, in doing so, helping to save a dog.
Copyright © 2009 by C.B. Kennebeck Inc.