Dogs in Thought showcases hero working dogs, others to benefit animal welfare

Bushido, Boston K9 unit (courtesy Mitch Weiss)
Bushido, Boston K9 unit (courtesy Mitch Weiss)

[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries – video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples – are an important part of Massachusetts’ economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

Dogs in Thought beautifully captures the individual personalities of 60 house and working dogs through the fine art photography of visual artist Mitch Weiss. In photos and words, the book celebrates the stories of many remarkable animals such as Bushido, a member of the Boston Police K9 Unit who worked a 12-hour shift sniffing for bombs during last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, and Shifty, who served in Afghanistan and now works as a bomb dog with the MBTA. Even Catie Copley, the official Canine Ambassador of The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, makes an appearance in this fine art book. Proceeds from sales of Dogs In Thought will directly benefit MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, two of the largest animal welfare organizations in Massachusetts. In case you weren’t aware, April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, too.

I asked Humble Hues co-founder Michael Winston a few key questions about the project.

CO: How did this project come about?
MW: In 2010, photographer Mitch Weiss was commissioned to make a portrait of an elderly dog who, unfortunately, passed away several weeks after the session. Having witnessed the grief of the family after his death, and their appreciation of the portrait that captured the dignity in his final days, Mitch was empowered by the depth of the relationship between this dog and his family. Mitch decided to explore the human-canine bond further, which led him to create a fine art series of dog portraits which capture the character, expressiveness, and individuality of each canine; I joined him to manage the project. These portraits were assembled into the book, Dogs In Thought, which is now being sold for charity. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to both the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and the MSPCA-Angell.

CO: What do you hope to accomplish in selling this book?
MW: Animal shelters in Massachusetts take in thousands of animals every year. At its busiest, the MSPCA-Angell alone has cared for as many as 1,000 animals in a single month. Many of these animals have been abused or abandoned, and the shelters are an important part of their recovery and search for loving, permanent homes. Several of the dogs featured in Dogs in Thought were adopted from shelters like those run by the MSPCA-Angell and Animal Rescue League of Boston and have gone on to become productive members of society, primarily as loving companions. We hope to raise funds for and bring greater awareness to the work of both organizations so they can continue to provide quality care to animals in need. So far, Dogs in Thought has raised over $5,000 since its debut in October of last year.

CO: What stories from this book stick with you the most?
MW: Some of the most powerful stories came from the featured working dogs. These dogs perform work ranging from search and rescue and bomb detection to comforting children and the elderly in hospitals and retirement homes. Shifty, a four-year-old Labrador Retriever, exemplifies the critical roles these dogs play in our community. Shifty served seven months as a bomb dog for US military enforcements in Afghanistan before returning to the US in February 2012. He now works for the MBTA, and, in the aftermath of the bombing of the 117th Boston Marathon, he and his handler worked 14 to 16 hour days until the second suspect was captured. We will forever be indebted to Shifty and the many other hardworking dogs that keep Bostonians safe.

CO: Where can our readers purchase a copy?
MW: Books are available for sale on Amazon. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the Animal Rescue League of Boston and the MSPCA-Angell!

[We are thankful for Global Business Hub’s support of the Creative Industries. Please note: This article does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development or its Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth, nor is it an endorsement of any views, products, or opinions contained therein. The author is solely responsible for the content.]