Project DOG is a grassroots movement celebrating dogs and promoting responsible dog ownership through a series of creative photography book projects and other stuff for dog lovers by award-winning pet photographer Kira Stackhouse.
To promote responsible pet ownership!
Hi, I'm Kira, and this is my site. After about six months of obsessive searching for the perfect puppy, I finally got my first dog baby. Harley, on January 1, 2010. He was a tiny 2-lb, 9.5-week old baby boston terrier puppy, the cutest baby boy I had ever seen in my entire life. With him came the overwhelming challenge of raising him right, and so my adventure began.
Before Harley, I was only a cat person. In my fresh new days as a "dog person", I began volunteering and doing everything I could to immerse myself in this newly discovered "dog world". Little did I know that people in the Bay Area would hate me for having a puppy, let alone a purebred dog from a breeder! How could I?! Shame on me for not rescuing a dog... (I've heard this a million times). I had no clue, and was soon face to face with people who had no problem voicing their distaste for my dog, and me.
I became saddened and disheartened, my efforts to volunteer and help dogs in need became overshadowed by the fact that I did not rescue a dog, and I had to find a way to suck it up and deal with it, because these are the dog people in my community.
There's something to be said for rescue dogs, and there's something to be said about bringing home your first puppy. Both are equally special, but something that will not change is that people will continue to do both. The only difference is what happens once that dog gets home.
What kind of people are these new pet parents? Are they fully invested in the long-term life of this animal? Will they offer their dog opportunities to socialize, learn, and grow? Was this dog brought home on impulse or was he/she planned? These are just a few important questions to ask, and these questions apply to everyone. It's not about dogs, it's about people.
The only way we can help change our society's animal culture is to understand that polarizing groups of people does not work. Figuring out what the common issues are and working to find solutions together is the only way to make effective change. But most people don't think this way.
I've always been a "marketeer", and offering new perspectives is something that I find challenging and very rewarding. So I took the challenge head on to figure out a way to tackle this tangled web we call the "dog world" and all of the preconceptions we have about dogs, dog people, rescues, breeders, and so on. What I realized early on, is that we all share a common thread - love of dogs.
The idea of Project DOG started in the summer of 2010. I'd always wanted to publish a book, I just wasn't sure what kind. Eventually it became "a dog book", but I knew it needed to be something more than just cute photos of dogs, because anyone could do that. This book needed to be extra special. I wanted to create a way to bring people together, to share stories, to teach lessons. A book that was fun to look at, inspiring to read, and purposeful.
I started an online social media campaign in July 2010 on Facebook and Twitter, attracting the support of more than 20k supporters in less than a year. I received online submissions of dogs and stories from more than 4,000 dogs around the US and the world.
In June of 2011, I quit my full-time job of 6 years to work on the Project DOG book. I began selecting and photographing dogs right away, I launched a fundraising Kickstarter campaign in mid-August (raising $24k), edited photos, designed and laid out the book and had it printed and bound by the end of December.
Project DOG (the book) features photos of more than 170 dog breeds - both a dog from a breeder and a rescued dog of each breed (330 total dogs), alongside stories written by each dog's owner. Here is a sample layout:
The book has been out for a while now and a limited quantity remains (once they're gone, they're gone), so the website has now morphed into a resource site to promote responsible dog ownership.
I want to create a place online that offers tools to help improve the quality of your dog's life, from whatever stage you're at - whether you just want a dog, you are planning for a dog, or you already have a dog.
About This Site
- To promote responsible dog ownership - before and after getting a dog!
- To celebrate all dogs and share stories of dogs around the country and the world.
- Offer resources for training and tips for responsible pet care
- Pet services directory (includes rescue organizations)