It was Saturday morning and I’d been invited to take pictures of a French Mastiff. Even the cold November weather couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Arriving in Dagenham though, I had a shock. Littered with broken toys and furniture, the garden where I planned to take photos was a mess.
Too embarrassed to leave there and then, I was greeted by the owner’s son, Chris, who volunteered to help. Accepting his offer, I surveyed the wreckage and wondered where to start. And then I saw the kennel, which was huge, built of wood and full of character. It would make a great setting, if only the dog would cooperate.
Using a mixture of carrot and stick, we tried to shift the Mastiff, who was stubbornly indifferent. Then as we began to shiver, she got up, walked into the kennel and lay down out of sight. That was when I started to pack away my kit and think about lunch, but Chris refused to give up. Scrambling into the kennel, he joined his pet Mastiff and made one last effort to move her. With wounded pride she came out and stood scowling at the kennel door. And that’s when I captured her, in all her sulky magnificence.
Borealis Press have used the image on a greeting card, with a quotation by the late W.C. Fields : “Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.” If you’re feeling inspired, alternative captions are welcome.
To see other photos from the Town Dogs series, visit the gallery at my website.