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Book Review: You Lucky Dog by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader and PhoDOGraphy by Kim Levin

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You Lucky Dog by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader is a collection of 30 craft projects to pamper your pooch. The wide variety of projects include toys, beds, clothing, and even safety gear, and focus on three different disciplines: knitting, crochet, and sewing. Tutorials for each discipline are included.

“Lil Buddy T-Shirt” is a sewing project utilizing one of your old t-shirts. “My Pillow Bed” is a sewing project to turn an old bed pillow into a pet bed with a thick, cozy, and easily removed cover. My two boys adore human-pillows so this is first on my list to make. “Reflective Safety Gear Set” includes instructions for making ankle cuffs, leash, and collar with reflective tape. “Road Trip Booster Seat” is a thick foam pillow that can latch to the seat. It is meant for tiny dogs, but there is nothing to actually clip them into the seat, so it really just seems like a doggy bed. “In The Saddle” is a small saddle bag that can be strapped to the back of your larger pup. “Folding Bowl” is perfect for hikes and picnics. “Wild Monster Balls” are cute tug-toys made out of old, felted sweaters. Other toys include a crocheted squeaky ice cream, denim bone, and a tennis-ball-and-rope tug toy.

The clothing options are a little on the obnoxious side. Okay, a lot on the obnoxious side. I am one of those people who does not believe in dressing up their dogs in clothes. But for those of you inclined to do so, patterns and directions are included for a knit sweater with ruffled hem, a tutu with matching bow, a faux mink stole, a reversible flight jacket, crocheted cardigan, and a rhinestone-studded collar.

For those that are not crafty, there is PhoDOGraphy by Kim Levin. This book gives you tips and tricks for taking photos of your dogs. The book is more of a straightforward photography book for the hobbyist. It doesn’t get too technical, but focuses mostly on framing, lighting, and ways to capture your subject’s personality. It does not offer any tips on how to get your dog to sit still long enough to snap a photo, which is honestly the part I need help with the most – usually once the camera comes out, the pup crawls towards me to investigate. My best pup pics end up being the ones I catch secretly with my iPhone. Regardless of the advice, the beautiful dog photos are worth the cover price.

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