City Dog Country Dog!

 
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South Australians, it seems, are a bunch of dog-lovers. Whether they’re mollycoddled fluff-balls or disciplined working dogs, we have the highest ownership rate in the nation – one pooch for every 5 people.

Adelaide hills Photographer and Journalist Sally Harding has had her lens trained on the adoring two-way affair, and confesses to being more than a little susceptible to puppy love herself.

Leigh: So who are these?

Sally: Tally, Molly and Chip.

Leigh: And they look like they keep the big fella busy!

Sally: Yes, but they’re terriers as we all know, they’re big dogs in little dogs’ bodies!

Sally’s new book, ‘City Dog, Country Dog’, captures beautiful images from all over Australia – from the top paddock, to the top penthouse.

Leigh: Sally the book is absolutely gorgeous, congratulations, now what was the inspiration behind it?

Sally: There’s an ancient fable about a city mouse and a country mouse who swap lives, they think there’s a better life out there for them, but they both realise in the end they both cherish what they already have, and it’s lovely to admire another lifestyle but home is, where home is.

Leigh: So ‘Country dog, City dog’ – is there really any difference?

Sally: Ah, see that’s the thing, and photographically, that’s what I was trying to show, that dogs are so adaptable that they will make their home wherever you ask for it to be so.

Leigh: Where did you find all the dogs that you actually photographed?

Sally: Well that’s the funny thing, dogs are everywhere, and owners are so proud of their dogs, that if I saw a dog, and I thought it would be of benefit to put in the book, then I never got refused, so there were complete strangers who I approached and within half a day was at their house having a coffee, photographing their dog.

The book reminds us of just how big a part these irrepressible companions play in our lives, no matter what our personal style.

Sally: There is a picture of a dog at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the way the book is, I’ve tried to put contrasting pictures, so, there’s uber-urban dog with the sunnies, little Chihuahua and on the opposite page there’s a country dog, an old dog with at the livestock sales under the truck with the plastic muzzle and a bit of bailing twine – the country bling as opposed to the glasses of the city bling.

Leigh: Dogs and their owners you must have met some real characters- was there any one that really stood out for you?

Sally: Absolutely, so one of my favourite people and his dog Bonnie is on the cover. He’s a plumber, and a farmer – very quietly spoken man, he’s got the long hair and probably usually wouldn’t be up for a chat, but I met him photographing his dog to be a Tradie dog, and there’s a lovely shot of him with a dog in the cab and he’s had dogs throughout his plumbing career, but when I went to photograph the dog, it was a young dog – and she needed to be told what to do, and I was expecting him to be barking at the dog, but he was so quietly spoken, almost stroking it under the chin, I don’t know what he said but the dog was just instantly under his spell.

Leigh: So real mates?

Sally: Yeah, and it was almost crossing over into being a dog whisperer, he’s just quietly going about his business, but his dogs are just so loyal and admiring, he really had a big connection to them.

Leigh: Have to ask…So have you got another project in the pipeline?

Sally: I’d love to do a version two actually, a second series!

And just to keep that theme of canine caring and sharing part proceeds from ‘City Dog, Country Dog’ will go towards helping the Lions Hearing Dogs Training Centre, in the Adelaide hills.

It really is a gorgeous book and if you’d like a copy we have a number to give away, thanks to Wakefield press, just click on the competition area and you’ll find all the details there.