Perhaps you’ve already got a dog and sitting down, reading this with some canine panting in the background and occasional nudge for a nice old scratch. Or perhaps you’re reading this and like me have no dog, but a penchant for canine cuddles.Whatever it is, I’m just glad you’re here.
I feel like I can unburden my feelings and come clean. I’ve been photographing dogs for over four years now and I just feel like I ought to at least have one by now! I’ve worked out every possible reason not to, including the responsibility, the holiday issues and I know I would probably end up being the one to do most of the chores. To compound things, the children repeatedly nag us to get one.
Then I was asked to exhibit some work for the Artists Open House in Brighton. An opportunity opened up to review my dog photography; and made me realise something. I had avoided the very idea of having a dog, but hadn’t thought why I ought to have one. So whilst out and about with my camera in search of captivating canines, I asked dog owners and friends of, this question, “Why get a dog?”.
Here are the ones that came up that I’d like to share with you.
- FUN Playful, rambunctious and sometimes downright silly. Overall my informal survey had an overwhelming agreement on this point. Dogs embody a fun quality that thankfully takes us humans out of our seriousness as a result. That is invaluable!
- COMPANIONSHIP Another recurring factor is their unique friendship to us. Some say they consider themselves a family member. I think this is true, otherwise they wouldn’t expect to join in on every single activity humans do. Having shared a dog with my husband, I had a chance to experience this firsthand.
- AFFECTIONATE A friend pointed out “It’s vital to have a dog when you have teenagers. At least someone will love you!”. Every dog I have photographed, or attempted to, has oozed affection unconditionally.
- COMFORTING Whether exhausted or just a bit down, having a dog to greet you and not have to explain anything is of such comfort. I’ve heard so many heartwarming stories, one woman in particular spoke of how her son had experienced a hard time and that their dog’s calming nature alleviated his stress.
- SOCIAL LIFE One I was not expecting but it was almost unanimous with dog owners I’d met. I’ve discovered clubs and communities big and small who regularly meet up for walks. What a marvellous way to meet people.
- HEALTH & EXERCISE The solution to a healthy lifestyle. Each person I spoke to said that their dog contributed to healthier living. What a great reason to get out and about. You may not want to on those cold wet days but your body will thank you and that’s a good thing, right?
- LOYAL Ok, this one has some slight contention as there’s been deliberation on whether dogs are actually loyal. I think they are, however as another friend of mine when asked said, “Yes very loyal… as long as you avoid anyone with meat!”.
- SECURITY Now although this wasn’t the most popular reason, it did appear to be an important addition. Dogs make us feel safe and secure, even when they are soppy, they have a protective role.
Sophie Sheinwald will be exhibiting eight framed prints celebrating this rather unique relationship between dog and human. There will be a Schnauzer from Ditchling and a French Bulldog from NY City amongst others. You can find her work at at Blackwood Studios, Spring Street in Brighton, exhibited alongside three other artists this May.
If you’ve come to this blog and realise that Sophie’s photographed your dog as part of her project please get in touch. She is very grateful to all the very lovely dog owners who have contributed to her project. Thank you!!!!
She says that having met so many fabulous dogs on this journey may just change her mind on getting one. The reasons are weighing more for than against than ever before!
Sophie has also started a Facebook Page called 8 Reasons I Ought to get a Dog where you are welcome to share photos and thoughts about canine related topics.
Sophie specialises in events and headshots and can also be booked for bespoke portrait commissions.