Man's best friend treats lovers to advice

There are dog books, and then there are dog books. (And ever more dog books.)

But a dog couple book?


The Dogs' Book of Romance, by sisters-in-law Lisa Sachs and Kate Ledger, is out for Valentine's Day. A follow-up to The Cats' Book of Romance, the $9.95 dog book from Andrews McMeel Publishing also offers relationship advice. "From Dobermans to Dachshunds, they have wisdom to spare about how to make romance last a lifetime," says the book jacket. Nineteen pages of dog pictures accompany 19 pieces of advice.

Give from your soul.


See the other point of view.

Wake one another to catch the sunrise.

Fall in love all over again ...

Simply profound or simply corny? Whatever your call, never underestimate the potential emotional pull of a dog book.

"I like this book because it comes from a different angle. It applies to relationships in general - both human and canine," says John Hurd, a flight attendant from Bolton Hill. His Great Danes, Titan and Shelby, are featured in the book.

Many of the dog couples are from Baltimore neighborhoods - including Homeland, Roland Park and Bolton Hill. Here's the connection: Ledger and Sachs married brothers from Baltimore. Sachs and her husband, Ben, live in Montgomery County. Ledger and her husband, Jonathan, have since moved to Connecticut after living in Baltimore. But for the family project, they returned often to Baltimore.

"[Dogs] were all over town. They were in every nook of Baltimore. It was amazing," Ledger says.

Who knew Baltimore was so dog-couple friendly? The sisters-in-law photographed friends' dogs. They stopped people in the street if a Westie or Lab couple caught their eye. (In Titan and Shelby's case, the authors knew their walkers.) Once the dog owners signed a "model release," the next step was the shoot. The hard part was getting the dogs to stop drooling or panting long enough to be photographed in the dog owners' homes. The subjects tended to wander off to the water bowl. Sachs learned her lesson about photographing dogs.


"You would think they are smarter and more compliant to your wishes. However, they are a lot harder," she says. "They do not like the hot lights."

Hurd concurs.

"Great Danes are big chickens," he says. "After Lisa set up one of the umbrella reflectors for her lights, that was just about the last we saw of Titan."

The authors made sure they covered a variety of breeds. Westies, wire-haired dachshunds, boxers, collies, shelties, border collie mixes, beagles, pugs, Welsh corgis, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Great Danes, dobermans - all were photographed by Sachs with the advice written by Ledger, who doesn't own dogs. Ledger does the cat thing.

At her wedding six years ago, she had considered presenting a slide show of her amorous cats. "I just felt our cats had lessons to teach us on how to get along." But a slide show during her wedding? On second thought, Ledger, a writer, decided a book would be a better idea. So, she and her sister-in-law, an art photographer, went to work on a cat book. A companion book was almost a given. "We felt all along we had to do dogs, too," Ledger says.

Sachs' dogs, Max and Ellie, get two pages in the book. Max gets an additional solo page, and why not - he knows the photographer.


On Page 52, two Labradors are photographed paw-over-paw. The Labs, Emma and Homer, belong to Jane Brown and Lew Evans of Butchers Hill, who often walk the duo in Patterson Park.

"They are so much in love. It's amazing to see," Evans says. "They are just not comfortable if they are out of each other's sight. When we take one to the vet, the other dog has to go."

Pam Himmelrich of Roland Park has two wire-haired dachshunds named Natty and, of course, Boh. They, too, came to the authors' attention through a dog walker and wound up on Page 57.

"I was happy to lend them for the cause," Himmelrich says. "But I don't think the picture does them justice. They are much more beautiful than that."