Old Dogs' Wisdom _ Wise Words from Furry Friends
By Fiona Tomlinson
New Holland, $29.99

By Linda Hall

This delightful book had me grinning from ear to ear.

Fiona Tomlinson has managed to capture the very soul of man's best friend through her incredible photography.


You can tell by looking at the pictures what sort of personality these beautiful pets have. All of them are special to someone and all of them are so obviously loved.

This is a book to delve into at random and enjoy the wise words and spectacular photos. Leave it on the coffee table and watch as your visitors and family are drawn to pick it up.
Fiona has been a professional photographer for more than 20 years working for magazines, family and personal portraits, weddings and pet photography, to name but a few.

She also owns two successful food-related business.
This is her first book - the first print has already sold out, but don't worry there are more.

I asked her some questions.

Why dogs and not cats?

I like cats don't get me wrong but I LOVE dogs ... dogs are great company, they have enormous empathy, they love hanging out with you and they are always pleased to see you ..... and they get you out and exercising. It seems odd to me to go out for a walk without the dogs - they are very much a part of my life and routine. A house is just not a home without at least one dog beside the fire in the winter.

How old were you when you got your first dog?

I was about 2 - and my first dog was a west highland white terrier called Rob Roy MacGregor (how's that for a Scottish name?) I made sure my son had a westie as his first dog too !

And took your first photograph?

Dad bought me a Polaroid camera when I was about 7 - I had a few cameras actually , a Polaroid camera and also a few 35mm manual film cameras. Each frame of film was sacred.

How did you select the dogs to feature in this book?

I basically put out two casting calls for old dogs on Facebook - I had a overwhelming response - people are very passionate about their dogs and they are especially passionate about their older fur friends. I have to say that the NZ Purebred Group on FB helped enormously when I was looking for specific breeds of dogs.

What advice would you give someone planning a book based on photography?

Photograph something you and other people are passionate about.

What's the best dog's name you have come across?

Two dogs names that stand out for me - Bananas - she is a little Chihuahua that came to live in Auckland from Beverly Hills - she is a wee star - a tiny little dot of a dog with a beautiful presence and personality.
And when I moved to Napier - everyone kept asking me if I had met Jesus in Sturms Gully ( I am agnostic- I wondered if they were taking the mickey)- but I DID meet Jesus in Sturms Gully - he was a big sook - a large leggy ridgeback-cross who charmed all he met - I am grateful to have met him.

What pets do you have?

I have Otis who moved with me from Auckland to Napier - he is lab x dalmatian .... I got him at 4 weeks old (far too young to leave his mother) when he was being "disposed of". I also have a little maltese x poodle that I rehomed from Hurrah rescue group in Auckland and recently a friend of mine passed suddenly and she left me her giant schnauzer. My house is full!

Tell us a little about your food businesses?

I bought Macarons.Co.NZ from a pastry chef about 4 years ago on a bit of whim - it was meant to be a one day a week business for me but it kind of grew - we now mass produce the macarons in HB and send them through the country (with emerging export markets too ) - it's exciting times.

I recently bought The Damson Collection from Margie and Tom Chambers. Damsons are a beautiful tart plum and the Chambers have a fabulous orchard here which grows all our plum stock. Margie has decided to put all her effort into her other business Bohemein Chocolates with bases in Wellington and Auckland - which is why The Damson Collection was up for sale.

What's next for you?

I have a December 20 deadline with my publisher for book 2 which is Tradies' Dogs - no pressure! And I'm talking with them about a couple of other book ideas which we think will fly.

As far as The Damson Collection goes I guess it is just a question of pushing on with it all and growing the business with the help of the Focus Distribution based here in Napier - I'm working with a few foodie friends in Asia too and there is strong interest for the product there.