“Dog Love” Is Welcome And Passionate Relief From The World’s Negativity

For Picks of The Litter, a regular book review series, Ranny Green critiques "Dog Love" by Ann DeVito (Penguin Books).

For your Westminster wrap, here’s the perfect read packed with DeVito’s whimsical illustrations amidst brief profiles of a potpourri of pups.

Don’t expect to find all of the American Kennel Club’s 189 recognized breeds here, but there is a colorful mosaic of popular ones along with basics of the breed and fun facts, such as prominent owners, quotes, Q&As, and factoids.

The designer/illustrator, a New Yorker and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, fashioned this work by drawing different breeds from “The Complete Dog Book,” with her two children, Quinny, 9, and Ricky, 8.

“It was a fluid two-year project inspired by the innocence of the two,” DeVito says. “We drew dogs daily and I decided to translate my drawings into a book to teach history and fun facts.”

The breeds were selected mostly by popularity and lovability, the author says.

Ironically, DeVito’s family does not own a dog because there are forbidden in her co-op. But she gets her doggy fix everyday on the streets of the city.

Here’s a taste of accents you’ll find complementing the breed character sketches of mostly two pages:

“An Airedale can do anything any other dog can do and then lick the other dog if he has to.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Humans use 12 million olfactory receptor cells to smell. Most dogs use 1 billion. Bloodhounds use 4 billion!

Linked to the Bedlington Terrier profile: “The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” – Johnny Depp

Associated with the Bullmastiff portrait: “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.” – Milan Kundera

Notable Chihuahua owners: Paris Hilton and Tinkerbell and Bambi; Marilyn Monroe and Choochoo; Sharon Osbourne and Martin.

With the Italian Spinone vignette: “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.” – Mark Twain

Whippet nicknames: Poor man’s Greyhound; rag dog; snap dog.

“Dog Love” is best defined by its panache, passion, and breezy prose. In other words, a welcome relief from all the negativity we see and hear around us today.

Here are a few illustrations from the book: All images from "DOG LOVE" by Ann DeVito, published on February 2, 2016 by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright by Ann DeVito, 2016.

basset hound illustration
Basset Hound
chow chow illustration
Chow Chow
mastiff illustration
greyhound illustration
lhasa apso illustration
Lhasa Apso


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