Ann DeVito’s ‘Dog Love’ Artistically Captures Man’s Best Friend [REVIEW]

Dog trio

Regardless of the breed, dogs bring lots of love into our lives. (Photo by Julie, Leon G, and Eran Finkle/Flickr)

If dogs are among some of your lifelong friends, you are going to love Ann DeVito’s Dog Love, a gorgeously illustrated volume that pays homage to our favorite canine companions. 

Ann DeVito's DOG LOVE

Penguin

I absolutely adore the book because more than anything else, it makes me smile. As I read through one breed description to the next, from Afghan Hounds to Yorkshire Terriers, I was reminded why dogs are my favorite animal ever.

DeVito does a remarkable job capturing the essence of each breed with her lovely artwork. But the quotes and anecdotes she sprinkles throughout the book’s pages are like tasty morsels that we can’t help but devour.

First, DeVito’s factual descriptions are spot on. I’ve had so many different dog breeds over the years, I can speak from experience. If you’re looking for a new family pet, this is a brilliant and concise resource to help you match temperament to your family.

For example, upon first glance you might think that a 130 pound Bullmastiff might not be the right dog to have around small children. But as DeVito notes, these aren’t “high-energy dogs,” and if properly trained and socialized, they are actually “trustworthy huggable lugs.” Having grown up around this breed, I know this is definitely true. In fact, one of our Bullmastiffs, Brandy, was so docile and sweet tempered, we never had to put her on a leash.

Schnauzer Fashion

Regardless of which size Schnauzer you get, they always think they’re boss. (Photo by Gregg O’Connell, Flickr)

When writing about Schnauzers, DeVito explains that this pooch comes in three sizes: giant, standard and miniature. But I love how she breaks down this breed with three simple words: “confident…intelligent…boss.” Even though our last Schnauzer, Einstein, was of the mini variety, he definitely thought he was a big dog and would have happily been the alpha if we let him.

DeVito also adds little known facts to the book that make for entertaining reading. For example, did you know that Andy Warhol owned two Dachshund puppies or that Pablo Picasso had a Dachshund muse named Lump? Me either! But since several of these dogs lived in my home growing up, I know how playful and loving they can be, and it makes perfect sense that they’d inspire an artist’s creativity. After all, if their elongated bodies and stubby legs aren’t enough to make you smile, little will.

Finally, DeVito includes wonderful quotes within this book that will by turns melt your heart and make you laugh. Perhaps because we’ve adored Labrador Retrievers in our own lives, from my best friend’s dog Beau to our own precious Leonardo, I absolutely love the quote she includes from journalist John Grogan’s book, Marley and Me.

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things—a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”

As you can tell, I can’t say enough wonderful things about this volume. It is the perfect gift for the dog lover in your life or for the friend who is trying to decide which breed to add to the family. Most of all, however, Dog Love is a necessary addition to your own collection if you’ve ever known why the term “man’s best friend” is no misnomer. Pick up a copy today!

Ann DeVito

Ann DeVito

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ann DeVito is an illustrator and designer and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She has designed for Interview and illustrated for Harper’s Bazaar, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

Currently based in New York City, Ann is a freelancer whose clients include Untitled, Optimum Wellness Center, photographer Greg Lotus, makeup artist Kabuki, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Temptu, HBO, and many others.

Drawing, painting, and family are her first loves—and dogs. You can see her and her children’s work at anndevito.tumblr.com.

DOG LOVE
By Ann DeVito
160 pgs. Penguin Books. $18.

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About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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