My wife and I rescued a Mastiff named Bailey in 2013. A year later, I left my 10-year career in corporate human resources to become a full-time animal photographer. You could often find me taking photos of Bailey and our other rescue dog, Leo.
Mastiffs tend to have droopy jowls and don't always have the "look" of a happy dog, if that makes sense. Bailey was a very happy dog. To make her look a bit more animated in my photos of her, I'd give Bailey peanut butter. It got her mouth moving and made for some funny photos.
While I'm currently swamped as an animal photographer all year round, back in 2016, I wasn't. I decided to start a photo series of dogs enjoying peanut butter that January, the beginning of a few slow months when it came to the animal photography business. I posted some photos online and they went viral.
My photos of dogs enjoying peanut butter were all over the internet. I was being interviewed daily by media outlets from around the world. I decided to self-publish a book of dogs eating peanut butter and launched a Kickstarter campaign. Halfway through the successful campaign, multiple publishers reached out to me and offered book deals. In 2017, "Peanut Butter Puppies" was released as has since sold about 15,000 copies worldwide. In 2019, I released my second book, "Pit Bull Heroes: 49 Underdogs With Resilience and Heart."
I began 2020 by working on a 3rd book. It didn't involve peanut butter. I didn't want to make another peanut butter book. I thought one was enough and I didn't really like being called the "peanut butter guy." My photography is so much more than that. Although, I guess it's not bad to be known for something. I can't complain.
As I talked with my publisher more, we decided that it was a good time to do one more peanut butter book, and puppies were the obvious subjects of choice. We put the other book on hold and began photography for "Peanut Butter Puppies." With all the crazy things going on in the world when it came to politics, racial injustice, and the virus, it seemed like a good time to come out with something that would bring laughter and joy to others. That's why I do what I do. I get to make people smile and laugh for a living.
"Peanut Butter Puppies" features 70 rescue dogs between the ages of 8 weeks and 12-months old. Some were in the shelter at the time of photography. Some were in foster homes. The rest had already found their forever homes. I'm happy to say that they are now all in great, loving homes.
I need to feature rescue animals in my work. Thousands are euthanized daily. I like to use my platform as a photographer and author to advocate for them as much as I can.
I hope these photos bring a smile to your face.