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Martin Usborne

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What It's Like To Be A Dog During The Recession (PHOTOS)

Posted: 05/22/2012 1:35 pm

My Name is Moose is a book about what it's like to be a dog in the recession. It's also a book about how to enjoy the simple stuff in life - dogs are our masters when it comes to living freely and easily.

The content of the book - a mix of irreverent words and documentary photographs told about Moose the miniature schnauzer (who has very bad hair) - was inspired, ironically enough, by a book about a cat. Ernie: A Photographer's Memoir is a tale about a New York photographer's cat told in a quirky and memorable way and is by far my favorite photo book ever printed. I wanted to do something similar from a dog's point of view but based in East London.

I expected the story to be trivial and very lighthearted. But it took a different course of its own. I was struggling with getting work at the time and slipping in and out of a depression, something that has plagued me for much of my life. My close relationship to Moose was incredibly supportive. Taking him for walks, breathing the air, enjoying the simple stuff was a great help. When you judge yourself incessantly the straightforward accepting friendship of a dog is soothing. Inevitably, then, the tale took on a more emotional tone, dealing with some deep fears and hopes.

But the book remains lighthearted in many ways. I hope in the end it is like a children's book but for adults - on one level a simple story about a dog trying to help his master, on another a more complex story about the inner struggles we all face. The photography and writing that inspire me most crosses those boundaries. I'm constantly told how many kids love the story, responding to the images but also the story of the evil black dog that chases Moose. Perhaps children understand more about our very grown-up struggles than we might think.

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