Traer Scott loves puppies. The photographer and best-selling author of Shelter Dogs and Street Dogs does not apologize for being smitten with what she calls “blissful little creatures.” In fact, as she states in the forward to her new book, Newborn Puppies: Dogs in Their First Three Weeks, she aims to expand their accepted appeal beyond that of eight-year-old girls.
With that in mind, Scott does not simply present a collection of adorable images. She weaves fascinating scientific information about newborns, as well as several important animal-welfare messages, throughout the book, both in the foreword and alongside 75 photos she took of puppies sleeping, playing, and snuggling with littermates.
Through facts given about the helplessness of newborns, for example, readers better understand why puppies must not be taken away from their mothers too soon. In their first 13 days, “Puppies cannot control their own body temperature and therefore must rely on proximity to their mother and littermates to stay warm,” Scott writes. She chose the first three weeks as the timetable for her project because it represents such a crucial developmental period for puppies, which few get to witness.
Scott also addresses the belief some hold that all breeding should cease until every homeless dog has a forever home. “I used to feel the same way,” she shares, “but an end to breeding would actually mean the end of every breed variation we have and hold dear.” She believes that would be “a devastating loss.”
And while she’s accepting of responsible breeders, Scott writes that she always adopts and encourages others to do the same. She favors mutts because of their overwhelming need for homes and the mix of traits they bring to a family. She describes her Pit mix, Audrey, as “a water-loving, Frisbee-catching nanny dog with fierce intelligence.”
She also contemplates the scientific reasons behind her love for puppies and the importance of loving not only the little bundles of fur but also the challenging adolescents they grow into on their way to a calmer adulthood. Scott addresses the horrors of puppy mills, too, and offers advice on how to avoid unknowingly supporting the industry.
For her book, Scott photographed newborn puppies from shelters (including the one she volunteers at near her Rhode Island home), responsible breeders, and families with what she calls “oops” litters. Her own experience with motherhood informed how she approached her subjects. Scott was pregnant when she began the project, which she continued after the birth of her daughter, Agatha. The timing allowed her to identify with the mothers and know how not to put them or their puppies in stressful situations. Their blissful state, as Scott refers to it, shines throughout the book.
On that note, enough with the words! Here are the remaining eight bundles of adorableness promised from the book, Newborn Puppies.
Let’s hear from you, readers. Which of these puppies makes your heart melt the fastest? What do you love most about puppies? Share in the comments!