WE'RE a nation of dog lovers... that's why they deserve the focus to be on them sometimes

The Northern Echo:

Big boy and a Blue Sky

THERE’S no doubt we love our canine companions. According to the Blue Cross, they’re the most popular pet in the country, with 26 per cent of us owning one. Their pet owner survey says 60 per cent single people in the UK buy a pet for companionship – “39 per cent of whom have replaced their partner with a pet”. Whatever that means!

But dogs are fabulous companions – almost of half of people living in the North-East have wanted a pet since their early years, according to the Blue Cross. They are company, a reason to get up off the sofa and go for a walk – even better, a reason to get the kids off the sofa to go for a walk! And they bring other health benefits too, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and even improving your cardiovascular health.

Dogs can be trained to be the eyes, ears, and retrievers for their human companions, and in the countryside and down on the farm, they play a particularly important role, guarding machinery and animals, rounding up errant sheep and proving invaluable assets for country sports.

Tracy Kidd, from Darlington, was the winner in the Dogs at Work category in The Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year competition with her entry Wayne’s Team. “I was in photographer’s heaven whilst out with Wayne’s Team of working dogs,” she says.

“I always promised myself at the age of 40 I was going to follow my dream to become the best photographer I could be. Now at 48, through passion, hard work and determination, I have a photography business I am very proud of. Naturally, it has taken me into the dog and equestrian world; a world which I love. I spend a lot of time outside with my cameras, following these amazing animals and all that they do.

“It was a privilege to watch the team, tails held high, nose to the ground and retrieving, all of them totally in tune with Wayne Green, hanging on every command and thoroughly enjoying their job. It’s days like this and the reality of life that I am looking to capture in my images. To document life, as it is, with passion.”

Tracy enjoys nothing better than being out in the countryside, camera in hand, shooting commissions, equestrian and country sports events and lifestyle photography.

A selection of her images will be on display at The Station, Richmond, from Saturday, November 3 to Wednesday, November 14. Tracy will also be doing some complimentary dog portraits while she is there.