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Snog: A Puppy's Guide to Love    by Rachel Hale order for
by Rachel Hale
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

In Snog, award-winning animal photographer Rachel Hale presents numerous soft-eyed, wet-nosed, irresistible bundles of fur accompanied by intriguing comments on the theme of love. As Rachel Hale herself asks, 'Who better than a puppy to give us guidance on the nature and beauty of love?' (Or a dog canine love is forever.)

Small or large, pure breed or mixed, these little charmers all share the same wide-eyed interest in the world around them. Rachel Hale has a gift for endearing poses, ably abetted by adorable subjects. Flo, a cockapoo, sits beside a ruler that illustrates her tiny 7 1/2-inch (19 cm) height; shy Ernie, a Tibetan terrier, tries to hide in a curtain; several pups doze in blissful abandon, sprawled across equally oblivious siblings.

Since I like to know how things turn out, I was pleased that Hale provided an appendix briefly describing the puppies and how she managed to pose them. (Much to my relief, it sounds as if they all have good homes.) As for the poses, the author-photographer is herself an animal lover. The interest shown in kissing siblings was provoked by the application of honey. As for the boneless sleep postures, all she and her assistants had to do was to encourage play until the puppies fell asleep and could be artfully arranged. In short, these fur babies are caught forever in portraits that will elicit an Awwww.

Snog is a very attractive choice for the dog lover on your Christmas list. It is the kind of book that will be reopened repeatedly because the images are so endearing. In fact, one has to go back again to take in the written comments. At first look, the photographs overwhelm the print. Like all babies, these puppies radiate an innocent sense of wonder at the world around them. Would that that innocence was never betrayed.

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