SOPHIE’S occasional obsession with canines has spanned several years and what started as a parent’s good-natured tolerance of her daughter’s gravitational pull towards every pooch that crossed their path slowly became a photographic opportunity.

The result? A visual catalogue of quirky, intimate moments of the unique relationship between dogs and humans.

Sophie said: “I don’t have a dog, but I do have a penchant for canine cuddles. And I just feel like I ought to have one by now!

“I’ve worked out every possible reason not to, including the responsibility, the holiday issues and I know I would probably end up doing most of the chores. To compound things, the children repeatedly nag us to get one.

“An invitation back in May to exhibit some work for the Artists Open House in Brighton gave me the chance to review my dog photography.

“It made me realise something. While I had avoided the very idea of having a dog, I hadn’t thought why I ought to have one.

“So while I have been out and about with my camera in search of captivating canines, I asked dog owners and their friends: ‘Why get a dog?’”

Here are the eight best reasons: 1. Fun My informal survey had an overwhelming agreement that dogs are playful, rambunctious and sometimes downright silly.

Dogs embody a fun quality that thankfully takes us humans out of our seriousness as a result and that’s invaluable!

2. Companionship They have a unique friendship with us. Some say they consider themselves a family member.

I think this is true, otherwise they wouldn’t expect to join in on every activity humans do.

3. Affectionate A friend pointed out: “It’s vital to have a dog when you have teenagers. At least someone will love you!”

Every dog I have photographed, or attempted to, has oozed affection unconditionally.

4. Comforting Whether exhausted or just a bit down, having a dog to greet you and not have to explain anything is a great comfort.

I’ve heard many heart-warming stories: one woman in particular spoke of a time her son had gone through a rough patch and and his stress was busted by their dog’s calming nature.

5. Social life Almost unanimous with the dog owners I met, this quality was one I hadn’t expected.

I’ve discovered clubs and communities big and small who regularly meet up for walks. What a marvellous way to meet people.

6. Health and exercise The solution to a healthy lifestyle: everyone I spoke to said their dog contributed to healthier living. What a great reason to get out and about.

You may not want to on those cold wet days but your body will thank you and that’s a good thing, right?

7. Loyalty OK, this one is slightly contentious as there’s been deliberation on whether dogs are actually loyal. I think they are. However, as a friend said: “Yes, very loyal... as long as you overlook anyone with meat!”

8. Security Now, although this wasn’t the most popular reason, it did appear to be an important addition. Dogs make us feel safe and secure. Even the soppiest have a protective role.

Photographs of dogs by Sophie Sheinwald are currently on exhibition in The Garden Cafe, St Ann’s Well Gardens, Somerhill Road, Hove.

Sophie Sheinwald is very grateful to all the dog owners who have welcomed her and her camera.

Join in the canine fun and share your photos of the dogs you love on her Facebook ‘8 Reasons I Ought to Get a Dog’.

For further information about corporate and event photography by Sophie Sheinwald, visit