It all began with Chas, the dog in my novel, An Uncertain Age. He’s a Tervueren, a breed that herded sheep in medieval times. Chas’s character was inspired by two dogs in north London: the late Merlin of Primrose Hill and Mocha of Highgate. Each of these dogs, real and fictional, has a unique personality, as all dogs do. They’re like people with fur, only lacking the sarcasm and more easily pleased.

Fast forward to San Francisco. I was on a walk in Noe Valley, and happened to notice a nice black dog waiting outside a gym for his owner who was running on one of those treadmills inside. I wondered why the owner just didn’t take his dog on a walk, which would have “killed two birds with one stone”, so to speak. Or maybe the dog was too old for that. But it made me wonder about all the other city dogs. Who are they? What are their circumstances? I decided to find out…

a dog a day photos + text copyright © 2011, 2012 by Ulrica Hume

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