The Whelping of Woof!
My mission became clear: a dog-breed selection guide for Drag Queens. Before long, I worried that the topic might be a skosh too narrow. Were Drag Queens the only clueless dog-loving homosexuals? What were the Chelsea Queens using for a reference work? The breeds that would excite a Drag Queen might not be the same ones that attract Bears, Leathermen, or Size Queens. The mission expanded: I must reach out to the gay world en masse and become the canine rainbow tour guide. And thus, Woof! was conceived.
After extensive sociological and demographical research within the gay community (aka cruising, were one not to have a book contract), I was able to classify the gay men around me into twenty-eight breeds, which are arranged alphabetically in the text, from All-American Boy to Yenta. For each gay-man breed profiled, I recommend the best ten or twelve breeds that suit his temperament and lifestyle. If the reader follows the author’s advice, selects and purchases the dog following the guidelines in the book, raises and trains the dog precisely as outlined, he can expect unbridled success and happiness (and fairly few pee stains on his silk floor coverings).
Andrew is the Editor-in-Chief of Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie, Inc. He is proud to count many of the dog world’s most famous judges, authors, and breeders among his close friends. Many of these canine authorities contributed their knowledge and wit to Woof!. (Some of them even knew what the quotes were for.)
Andrew is also the founder and president of Cabaret for Life, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that raises funds for AIDS and cancer charities in New Jersey. In the group’s twelve years of existence, it has contributed over $150,000 to local charities. In 2006 Andrew was honored by the Monmouth County Volunteer Center for community leadership for his work for Cabaret for Life.
Meet the Author’s Dogs
My second Shiba followed less than a year after I got Tengu, when I envisioned how desirable I would appear walking two fabulous rare dogs around my beach-front community (instead of just one). The “kids” and I fast became an urban legend in my own mind.
Kabuki was the name I instantly gave her the moment I met her at Rick’s kennel. An animated four-month-old puppy, she was theatrical, glamorous and extremely vocal, just like that form of Japanese theatre. It was the perfect name, though her breeder, Mr. Akatani, laughed when I told him the name. (I guess it would be like calling an American dog Musical Comedy.) She lived for twelve years and approached every day as if it were the greatest one ever created. She had a zest for life that was inspiring (and exhausting!). Even when she lost her sight for a few months, she never stopped enjoying her life. Dogs are so amazingly resilient in so many ways. Cataract surgery restored her eyesight; I luckily found a yummy canine ophthalmologist in our own county. She lived for two years with her restored vision, but despite our best efforts, she died of complications from the diabetes.
The author’s third dog came as a part of a package deal, attached to the leash held by my partner Robert White. Max (clever name!) is a Vizsla—that’s the rust-colored pointing dog from Hungary. He’s a handsome dog in his own right, and if you prefer floppy ears to erect ones (Why!), you’d think so too. Unlike the Shibas, Max is very needy, which is never attractive, in dogs or men; though he’s nonetheless loved by both his dads. Max is ten years old, and you can read about him in the Prelude of the book.
Last year a new Shiba entered our lives, and her name is Azuki. (It’s officially San Jo’s Jelly Bean—we got her at Easter and her breeder insisted we name her after candy.) Azuki was bred by the very beautiful and talented Leslie Engen on the West Coast. Azuki is a clear red with symmetrical white markings (which the Japanese call Urajiro). When she was a puppy, she literally stopped traffic; as a young adult she continues to turn heads and has an avid fan club. She knows she’s a princess and isn’t hesitant to allow doting mortals to worship her (or to join her club for a fee).
Recently selected as one of the “200 Best Illustrators Worldwide” by Lurzer’s Archive, Jason O’Malley has had his work published in Vogue, The New York Times, Elle Decor, and OUT as well as Off the Cuff, a style guide by Queer Eye’s Carson Kressley. His extensive line of greeting cards are sold in hip shops around the United States and Europe. In 2005, he launched Handsome Devil Press Greeting Cards for Modern Bohemians with partner J.R. Craigmile. More than 100 designs, including many featured in Woof!, can be found at www.handsomedevilpress.com. That Jason’s art is appreciated around the globe is really no surprise: he is the progeny of an art director (dad) and an illustrator (mom). Jason and his partner divide their time between New York City and the Catskills, and their dogs, Tino (a Miniature Pinscher) and Simon (a supersize Rhodesian Ridgeback), are never far behind.