Who hasn't put words into their mutt's mouth? From "yes, the chicken-flavored treats are my favorite," to "no, I'm not quite ready for my bath," all dog devotees are guilty as charged--although not all do it in such a hilarious and endearing manner as writer Roy Blount Jr. and photographer Valerie Shaff in If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs
. Blount, humorist and author of Be Sweet
, brings us closer to "understanding the 'inner dog'" through his use of Doggerel, a uniquely Blount brand of verse with the "canine measure somewhere between ordered and free." The effect of this puppy poetry--when paired with Shaff's truly remarkable duotone photographs of mixed and pure breeds--is comic genius. A Boxer coyly stares into the camera wondering, "What does that mean, 'expensive shoe'? / I ate it because it smelled like you," while a chubby-tummied bulldog declares "Good stick. / Got a good stick. / A real / good / Stick. / Getting all the good / Out of this good / Stick / That's in / This / good / Stick." You'll never be able to resist this entertaining and affectionate look at our canine friends as "they ponder the confusions, certainties, pangs, and pleasures of a dog's life."
Man's best friend, but what exactly goes through a dog's mind when he looks at us? Photographer Valerie Shaff and American humourist Roy Blount Jr. have joined forces to produce a book every dog lover should have. From the pertinent to the poignant, the farcical to the fancy, terriers, hounds and everything in-between are impeccably captured on film and in word. In play or portrait, Shaff's snapshots capture the marvellous range of looks that can cross our canine friend's faces while Blount succinctly encapsulates the dogs mind from simple two liners to longer verse. A must for all dog fans, with humorous and in some cases hilarious slants on their emotions as seen by humans. And anyway, who can resist that longing look emanating from the book jacket? - Lucy Watson