Recently, our Chihuahua Bob and his late brother Gryffyn were featured in the photo-laden humor book A Canine's Guide to the Good Life. Penned (or is that pawed?) by adopted shelter dogs Frankie and LuLu, with a little help from owner/author Donna Cavanagh, the book captures tips that are sure to make any pup the leader of the pack.
Sure, I bragged about my sort-of-celebrity dogs, but I never anticipated that family, friends and acquaintances would try to jump on our book bandwagon. Suddenly everyone wanted to snag a spot for their favorite side kicks -- and they were armed with more JPEG files than Facebook to prove it.
The barrage of questions from the pet lovers went something like this:
"My sister's puppy is the most photogenic ever, can I send the publisher a picture?" She's kidding right? Apparently she hasn't seen the calendars. Every single puppy on the planet is photogenic.
"Do you think they might need a picture of a Boxer in a bathing suit?" Really? After pulling that off, this photographer should skip the snapshots and pitch an episode for Ripley's Believe It or Not!
"Do they need cats?" Hello -- cats are not canines. And no, dressing the cat as a Boxer won't work either.
Pet photo enthusiasm is epic, but not surprising. Given the incidence of human photo opps gone awry (Have you seen the Nick Nolte mug shot?), it's pretty obvious why people prefer pairing critters and cameras. As most dog owners can attest, cooperative canines are easier to come by than obliging humans. Maybe that's why the majority of greeting cards feature pets and not people. Either way, if you're a shutterbug, chances are it's easier to put your hand on a great dog shot than a family candid everyone's signed off on. That's because canines don't self-evaluate, balk or squawk.
Dogs rarely request a photo be deleted because the angle makes them look fat. They never insist you crop out the Labradoodle who dumped them. They might walk off the set, but don't rudely roll their eyes when the photographer suggests another shot. It's a dog's life when it comes to the photo shoot wardrobe, because every dog can rock a bandana. And if it's a bad hair day, that's only because an owner failed to make an appointment.
Canines never cop an attitude when you put their baby photos in the bar mitzvah and wedding videos. And only people and make believe cartoon dogs ruin photos by giving devil horns to unsuspecting family members.
Make no bones about it, families are fabulous. But if you need a SWAT team to talk your teenagers out of their rooms and into some khakis, portrait day has gone to the dogs. And in this case, so has the photo book.