A Dog Named Jimmy

The charming book you have to see
By Karen B. London PhD, October 2015

A man and his Bull Terrier, Jimmy Choo, became famous last year as a result of the art they created together. Rafael Mantesso is the brains behind the operation, Jimmy is the onscreen talent, and the results are captivating. These whimsical photographs are so appealing because the drawings around the dog so clearly take their inspiration from Mantesso’s best friend.

The art in this book records a highly advanced version of those games in which you have to make a drawing from a squiggle someone else makes for you. In this case, the squiggle is replaced by Jimmy Choo, and the man playing the game is as clever as he is talented.

Mantesso started this project on Instagram after his wife left him, leaving him the dog but little else. In his loneliness, the white walls and his dog became a muse to chase away the sadness. He began to draw around his sleeping dog and posted the pictures to Instagram. His following grew into the hundreds of thousands. Though Mantesso and Jimmy live in Brazil, people around the world have become interested in his work.

His book, A Dog Named Jimmy, contains 100 photographs of his work taken by a professional photographer, and they are exquisite. My favorite one shows Jimmy taking a shower, but everyone I know favors a different image. Is there one that you especially adore?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.