Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Book Features Nice Portraits - and Not One Dog Named 'Rover'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Book Features Nice Portraits - and Not One Dog Named 'Rover'

Article excerpt

I've never met a dog named Rover. It's an old-school dog name that dates back decades, before people started giving their dogs people names like Lucy, Leroy, Eddie, Gulliver, Jenkins, and the always popular Max and Bailey.

"Rover" is the inelegant title of a very elegant book with 360 photographic portraits of dogs ranging from an aristocratic Afghan hound to a yippy Yorkshire terrier. Mixed breed dogs get equal billing; some are so mixed it would be hard to identify the breeds in their bloodlines.

The dogs usually look directly into the camera, with eyes and facial expressions that range from sad and soulful to joyful and curious. Most are head and shoulders shots, but a smaller number are full body poses.

This is a true picture book. The breed of each dog is not listed. In fact,there is no text at all except for the dogs' names. Personally, I would enjoy reading about the personalities and back stories of the dogs, but it's not that kind of book.

Almost 90 percent of the dogs in the book spent part of their lives in shelters or rescues, according to Andrew Grant, the photographer. Some were shelter residents when Mr. Grant snapped their photos. The name next to their portraits is "Homeless." One of his goals is to convince dog lovers that beautiful and wonderful dogs, including purebreds, can be found in shelters and rescues.

Since 2009, Mr. Grant has self-published four editions of "Rover" books, raising nearly $2 million for 30 animal shelters across the country.

His latest book, "Rover: Wagmore Edition," was published this month by Firefly Books Ltd. of Ontario, Canada. Its cover price is $40, and Firefly will make a donation to a dog rescue for every copy sold. For $15.99 you can get the Rover 2018 calendar with 12 photographic portraits.

Mr. Grant has a unique way of raising money for the shelters. Dog owners have paid $5,000 for the honor of their dog appearing in a Rover book. For an additional $2,500, a dog gets a two-page spread. …

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