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Meet The Dogs of Dog Island

Miss Betty wants to tell you a joke

How This Project Started

We're dog nuts and designers, and once we heard the legend of Dog Island, we knew this story needed to be told. While setting up our studio, Otus or Gitzo (and their buddy, Batz) sat in as lighting models. One thing led to another, and now, we've interviewed and photographed many of the four-legged residents of Guemes.

What time does my shift end?

[Project Management, Research & Social Media]

Your key light is a bit too hot.

[Photography/Direction]

Following is a sampling of the talent, charm, poise, beauty and personality of the current Guemesian dog population, in no particular order. We'll publish a book in coming months with these pooches, folding in some resources and history of the indiginous, extinct Woolly Dog population.

Woof!

Someday, she would like to direct.

[Writing and Headline Wrangling]
Meet the studio dogs for the Dog Island Project

Piper

You drive; I’ll sing.

Piper

Piper

Bred as a hunting dog, Piper instinctively points at any sticks or tennis balls he sees, just in case some human might be interested in knowing that they’re there. He has a large vocabulary, he can read facial expressions, and he thumps his tail whenever he hears anyone mention his name. If he senses that he will not be invited along on an outing, he barks and hops up and down to see if he can change your mind. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Mele

Born under a wandering dog star

Mele

Mele

A rescue dog from Guadalajara, Mele is friendly, fearless, and full of charm. She is an extreme busybody and a remarkable escape artist, a combination that has driven her to go adventuring on her own, sometimes as long as overnight. But she knows how lucky she is, so she always returns to rejoin her family and tuck into her warm bed again.

Oola

Specializes in cat correction.

Oola

Oola

Oola has a gift for gentle behavior modification. She’s even good at the notoriously difficult task of herding cats. Her specialties include spotting and stopping acts of claw-related furniture destruction before they happen, and breaking up fierce feline skirmishes. Tough but fair, she will even take herself to her kennel for a time-out if she catches herself barking too loudly at people walking by the house.

Ruby

Detects treat wrappers at 100 yards.

Ruby

Ruby

Ruby loves to explore, jumping up on rocks, ledges, or fallen trees on the beach, walking along their entire length before hopping off. Although not a big swimmer, she does enjoy putting her nose in the water and blowing bubbles.

Birdie & Whitman

Watch for their upcoming detective series.

Birdie & Whitman

Birdie & Whitman

Birdie is a food fanatic, although she leans vegetarian. Known on the island as Broccoli Dog, she lives for produce scraps. No food-prep sounds elude her finely tuned senses; she can hear the vegetable peeler being taken out of the drawer from across the road.

Blaze

Firefighter, people whisperer, aspiring dolphin

Blaze

Blaze

Blaze is a do-gooder and an amazing mentor to younger dogs and puppies. But he also lives to serve people. A registered therapy dog, he makes regular visits to Island Hospital and an elementary school in Bellingham. He is a proud member of HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Team, and his most recent deployment was to the Sourdough fire basecamp in the North Cascades.

Sloane

Patiently plotting her next steakeout.

Sloane

Sloane

Sloane is a 42-pound pit-bull/cattle-dog mix from Houston who’d rather sleep in late than get up early for breakfast. Her idea of a combo meal is a new chew toy and a soft bed. But once she’s up and about, she attacks the day with gusto, chewing sticks, disassembling fir cones, and romping on the beach at Long Bay.

Jake

Mountaineer, philosopher, and tree climber

Jake

Jake

When Jake was just a puppy, he flew as an unaccompanied minor all the way from Houston to Juneau where he lived with his adoptive family for eight years. He has climbed many mountains in Alaska, so it should surprise no one that he also climbs trees whenever the urge strikes. And he still likes to hike up Guemes Mountain.

Charlie

Plenty of woof and weft

Charlie

Charlie

Charlie is a friendly and engaging soul who likes to live life in the moment. His favorite pastime is taking walks in the woods with his people and then coming home to enjoy a long nap on his back with his feet in the air.

Ozette

Rescued by a true hero

Ozette

Ozette

There was once a dog in Kennewick who liked to stop by the Benton-Franklin Humane Society to mooch a treat and get a few pats on the head. One day, he came across an abandoned puppy on the street, and he did what any good citizen would do. He led her to the shelter. They took her in, and her amazing canine hero collected his reward and went on his way. That abandoned puppy was Ozette, who is now a happy and well-loved resident of Guemes Island. Wherever her rescuer is today, we salute him for his service.

Marco

One suave dog.

Marco

Marco

A sleek and stylish Italian greyhound, Marco is a true continental who understands and appreciates comfort. On sunny days, he loves chasing birds and greeting other dogs and running full speed on the beach. But when it’s wet and windy, he prefers to stay inside and watch from a sunny window. He was undoubtedly a cat in a previous life, and he will probably come back as a Great Dane in his next.

Inky

Living his best second life

Inky

Inky

Inky is an old soul who bears an uncanny resemblance to a dear friend of her current human companions. Just before Gene passed away of AIDS in 1987, he expressed a final wish to come back as a dog owned by people he cared about. David and Birch are pretty sure that Inky is their old friend who has come home to be with them.

Rip Tide

Canine marine biologist

Rip Tide

Rip Tide

Rip Tide is sleek and brown and beautiful. Aptly named, he looks like he could be part seal. And he might be, because he loves going to the beach to watch them play in the water. Sometimes he will jump in and start swimming towards them until he is called back. So if you see him out there cavorting with the pod, don’t be surprised.

Bodhi

The dog abides.

Bodhi

Bodhi

Handsome, charismatic, and extremely chill, Bodhi is the canine version of a surfer dude. But he’s more than just a pretty face. He understands Armenian and he can remove the squeaker from a dog toy in half the time it took to install it. Someday he would like to work as a quality control inspector in the pet-products industry.

Anita

Possibly Vallhund, definitely vivacious

Anita

Anita

Anita is a rescue dog from Mexico, so her provenance is uncertain. A couple of people who’ve met her—one of them was from Sweden—are convinced that she is a Swedish Vallhund. Either way, one thing is certain: she belongs to the breed commonly known as Vivacious.

Finn

The mayor of Holiday Hideaway

Finn

Finn

Finn is a flâneur. (Look it up.) He’s also a cheese connoisseur, a swimmer, a collector of stuffed animals, and a building inspector. In short, he leads an interesting life at a leisurely pace.

Whiskey

Need an experienced ranch foreman?

Whiskey

Whiskey

Whiskey’s Australian cattle dog heritage is never far from the surface. He’s a natural guardian. When he goes camping with his people, he likes to sit on his haunches by the campfire, with ears pointed, listening intently, and eyes scanning the woods. He also understands the phrase "Watch the house, Whiskey;" and he does.

Emmett

What’s yours is mine…sooner or later.

Emmett

Emmett

Don’t be fooled by that innocent face. Emmett is a master of distraction and extraction. When he barks, he sounds like Cheetah. He has figured out how to open doors and windows by watching his human companions do it. And when anyone points a finger at him, he plays dead. If you put this all together, you will quickly realize he is hatching a plan to become the canine version of a cat burglar. Lock up your valuables.

Lucy & Liv

You keep an eye on the guards while I dig.

Lucy & Liv

Lucy & Liv

Lucy and Liv were rescued five days apart and are now a permanently bonded pair. But each has her own interests. Liv is an amateur entomologist and exterminator, who likes to study, chase, and try to eat any bugs that attract her interest. Lucy is a rebel and a rule-breaker, busily stealing and hiding Liv’s dog treats while she’s busy hunting bugs. One thing Lucy will never understand is why no one else in her family appreciates her incredible talent for digging through fencing.

Emma

Athlete, mariner, and keep-away champion

Emma

Emma

If you’ve got a sport, Emma is up for it. She loves to jump from one driftwood log to another as fast as she can, catching air as often as she can. She chases waves on the beach, barking at them non-stop, convinced that she will eventually catch one. She particularly enjoys riding fearlessly in the bow of a kayak, like Washington crossing the Delaware. She’s also bilingual (Spanish), which is not technically a sport, but she considers it one.

Sophie & Babette

Tag-team grappling gastronomes

Sophie & Babette

Sophie & Babette

Although bestie bassets Babette and Sophie may seem a bit lugubrious, their mournful mugs belie remarkably cheerful dispositions. They love making friends with other dogs and people, especially crew members on the ferry who ply them with snacks. 

Bubba

International dog of mystery

Bubba

Bubba

No doubt about it, Bubba is big. His special talent is taking up more than his share of the bed. And the blankets. But despite his size, he’s surprisingly light on his feet. He holds the title of Stealth Old English Sheepdog from the Guemes Island Association of Sheep and Shepherds (GIASS).

Maverick

Certified brunch hound and bon vivant

Maverick

Maverick

Maverick exudes joy and enthusiasm. He loves family, he loves friends, he loves strangers, he loves swimming, he loves chasing things, he loves laying on the porch, and he even loves going to doggie daycare. He also loves anything that’s bacon-flavored. But who doesn’t? The only thing he doesn’t love are leashes. But who does?  

Maggie

Queen of the soggy hug

Maggie

Maggie

Maggie can be a little bossy and would really appreciate it if everyone stayed off "her" beach! Once she gets to know you, she can still be a little bossy, but she warms up quickly, covering her new friends with big, wet dog hugs. Because everyone loves to be hugged by a wet dog, right?

Grover

Nobody beaches better than Grover.

Grover

Grover

Anyone who believes that looks aren’t everything hasn’t seen Grover. Fortunately, he’s as charming as he is handsome, which is a quality that comes in handy when you’re in the habit of getting people out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to take you for a run. Hey, nobody’s perfect. Not even Grover.

Greta

Put me in, coach.

Greta

Greta

Greta is the ultimate team player. Whenever she gets anywhere near people who are playing baseball, football, volleyball, soccer, or even skateboarding, she wants to join in. She’s especially fond of soccer. Her dream is to play for the Sounders someday. In the meantime, she stays in shape by chasing and ridding the world of pesky rats.

Sandwich & Stella

Best buds and bathophobes

Sandwich & Stella

Sandwich & Stella

These two are best buddies who go together like baguettes and brie, but they are definitely not the same dog.

Dolly

When you’re this adorable, you can mess with people.

Dolly

Dolly

Dolly has invented her own diabolical version of catch. Here’s how it works: She drops the ball near your feet and taps your hand with her paw. If you do not respond, she rolls it closer toward you with her nose. Then, just as you finally reach for it, she snatches it away from you. It’s like catch, but without all that silly running back and forth on her part. Who says dogs aren’t smarter than we are?

Whiskey & Kona

You forge ahead; I’ll watch for stragglers.

Whiskey & Kona

Whiskey & Kona

Whiskey was raised as a hunting dog, but now he is an admirer of trees and a practitioner of stillness. He will sit looking at and listening to his favorite tree for so long that neighbors and passersby have mistaken him for a statue of a dog.

Miss Betty

Laughs at her own jokes

Miss Betty

Miss Betty

Because Betty is sweet-tempered and completely deaf, people who don’t know her will sometimes assume she’s a bimbo. Nothing could be further from the truth. She knows ASL, she can probably lip-read, and she will anticipate your next move before you have a chance to make it. She also doesn’t seem to miss the sound of all of us trying to talk at the same time.

Gustavo

The therapy dog for dogs.

Gustavo

Gustavo

A big fan of Squirrel TV, Gus likes to spend hours by himself in the sunroom with his nose pressed against the floor-to-ceiling windows, watching local squirrels perform acrobatics around and on top of the backyard birdfeeders and garden fence. But he also knows how to work a crowd. His perpetually friendly demeanor wins over everyone he meets. Even strangers are captivated by his infectious smile.

Cooper

Leave your good shoes at home.

Cooper

Cooper

Cooper is a dog who has been around a while, and he’s put that time to use learning a few good tricks, although his favorite one is definitely an acquired taste. Whenever children come around to pet him, he likes to roll over on his back and aim a steady stream of urine onto their shoes. Consider yourself warned.

Leia

Bug off.

Leia

Leia

Princess Leia is half Pug and half Boston terrier, which makes her officially a Bug. But whatever her heritage, she was born to nap, and she does it with skill and dedication. Her superpower is snoring loudly and at length, which would be annoying if it wasn’t also a very effective burglar deterrent.

Scout

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Scout

Scout

A proud graduate of the wonderful Central Oregon Rehab and Rehome group, Scout is the super-model of rescue dogs. But she’s more than just a pretty face. Her style icon and social role model, obviously, is Amal Alamuddin Clooney.

Maddie

World-class bat wrangler and cat imitator

Maddie

Maddie

Not many dogs purr when they’re happy, but Maddie does. It sounds a little like Darth Vader, but it’s her expression of pure bliss and contentment. She’s an athlete and a retriever, and she takes that title seriously, swimming out into the water as far as it takes to fetch a ball and bring it back.

Tucker

If you not gonna eat that, toss it my way.

Tucker

Tucker

Tucker is gregarious and friendly. One of his favorite things is joining in on human conversations, with his distinctive woo-woo-woo voice. His other favorite thing is catching stuff in mid-air. He won the Hot Dog toss at the Dog Island Dog Show, where he also placed second in the “wiggliest waggliest” event. If people had the power to translate his conversations, they would quickly learn that all these years, he has been trying to talk someone—anyone—into getting him a machine that could serve tennis balls, dog treats and hot dogs in regular rotation. Who’s up for a game?

Ollie

Read me that story about the cats.

Ollie

Ollie

Ollie is a people pup. He was trained to be a therapy dog and has participated in the Reading with Rover program at the Woodinville/Redmond schools, serving as an attentive listener for children who are learning to read aloud. He’s also fond of felines. His best friend and honorary sibling is a cat named Sneakers.

K2

Would you mind depressing the clutch for me?

K2

K2

Most dogs love sticks, but K2 establishes lifetime bonds with them. Once she chooses one, it’s hers forever. If she finds a stick on a walk, and you actually manage to persuade her to leave it behind, and you happen to pass by it again two hours later, she will grab it and bring it home to add to her collection.

Sunny

Sweet, but sometimes stinky

Sunny

Sunny

Her name says it all; Sunny is exactly that kind of dog. Tastefully decorated with orange spots, she looks like she’s sitting in dappled sunlight no matter how cloudy the day may be. She loves belly rubs, food, and going to the beach where she chases waves with skill and dedication.

Cricket & Wren

They think and they act as one.

Cricket & Wren

Cricket & Wren

Also known as Rick Lips and Wrenny Penny (never let humans choose your nicknames), these two are distinct but also inseparable. Like yin and yang, like two sides of a coin, like carrots and cheese, which happen to be their two favorite snacks.

Indy

Pork chop? What pork chop?

Indy

Indy

Indy is big and loud and lovable. But her size belies the fact that inside, she’s a little sweetheart. She adores her blankie and would take it everywhere if she was allowed to. Her motto is: Speak loudly and carry a soft blankie.

Tucker

Remember to close the door.

Tucker

Tucker

Tucker is an aspiring interior decorator. Whenever the bathroom door is left open, he likes to sneak in, grab the loose end of the toilet paper roll, and stroll around the house unspooling it until it’s empty. You might want to invite him over to help you decorate before your next Halloween party. His rates are reasonable, and he will work for treats.