How many hundreds have books been written about dogs by the people who love them? It seems like everyone who has ever had a dog has written a book, or at least a story or a poem, about him, but that turns out not to be true. Stanley Coren estimates in Psychology Today that there are at least 725 million dogs on the planet, so the percentage of people who publish accounts of their dogs is actually rather small. The percentage of dogs who allow strangers to fondle them on book tours is arguably even smaller.
One such productive human is Andrew Knapp who has made a playful hide-and-seek photography book called Find Momo about his patient dog. While Momo is not as adept at hiding as is Waldo, he is at least 100 times cuter. He’s also real, a real border collie to be exact, and he enjoys peeking out from hiding places while Andrew takes his portrait. In some of the pictures he is easy to find, in others not so easy to find.
It all began innocently enough when a man adopted a dog (hear how it changed his life in his TEDx talk here). Andrew, like anyone with a camera (or iPhone) and a dog put the two together. Noticing that when he played stick with Momo the dog preferred to hide rather than bring the stick back, he decided to take pictures of his hard-to-see pooch when he was hiding. What started as a game became an urban landscape project in Ontario and then became a voyage of discovery, actual and metaphorical (really, listen to the TEDx talk, it’s inspiring). Andrew began posting his photos of Momo on Instagram, where he now has more than 150,000 followers, and created a website for the project. Now he has made his first book, and the second is in development.
Andrew and Momo stopped at Changing Hands Bookstore in nearby Tempe recently during their book-tour and I took the opportunity to go and meet a pooch I felt I already knew from his on-line personality. Both he and Andrew turned out to be as delightful in person as they seem on the screen and the page. I arrived in time for the Q & A, and Momo was already working the crowd as Andrew met fans and signed copies of his book for them. I have not been to many book-signings, and I learned a couple of things from this one. First, get there at the appointed time. If you’re 20 minutes late you’ll miss most of the content. Second, get there on time, if you’re 20 minutes late there will be no books left. Third, if you have to be 20 minutes late, go anyway because it’s a lot of fun to meet other people who like the same authors and books you do. It was great fun to watch Momo play with anyone who asked – as stars go, he is decidedly accessible: This one shows Momo doing what he likes to do best: hide! If you’ve enjoyed meeting Momo and visiting his sites, you might also like to know about Maddie the Coon Hound, whose human, Theron Humphrey, photographs her upon things. What a delight it was to discover that Momo and Maddie are acquainted. In this photo taken by Andrew Knapp and/or Theron Humprey you can see each dog doing what s/he does best.
There are a lot of dogs, and a lot of books about dogs. The happy news is that there’s always room for one more good one.