Julie Engh loved to go walking through Heritage Park with her dog Tod.
She would spend time with the pug-cross and meet plenty of other dog walkers along the way.
However, after 18 years of friendship, Tod passed away and Engh found herself walking alone, not knowing what to do.
“I’m on disability so I was kind of bored and then my friend bought me a camera for Christmas.”
That camera changed everything.
“I started randomly taking pictures or anything. I took a picture of a dog and I posted it on Facebook.”
People began to like her dog photos so Engh started taking more.
“I’d go there everyday taking pictures of dogs it started there.”
It was the beginning of a five year project that became the book The Dogs of Heritage Park.
Engh explained that she continued to take photos for two years, posting the dogs on Facebook. People began asking her to create a calendar.
With more than 200 dogs on her computer Engh didn’t know which photos to choose so she decided to make a photo book, “just for fun.”
“I showed it to a few people and they loved it… So three years ago, I decided to make a real book.”
She continued to take pictures of dogs visiting the park.
“Normally I’m super shy but I’d just walk up to people and ask if I could take a picture of their dog. And mostly everybody said yes, but the odd person didn’t want to, not very many. I think it was two people,” said Engh.
When she explained her plan to create a book, people at the park became excited by the idea and kept asking when it would be ready.
Engh took pre-orders for the book and printed off 180 copies, all of which were already pre-sold
“I was actually taking pictures right up to a couple of days before I had to send it to the printers. That’s why I have over 600 dogs in the book.”
She said the hard part was sorting though the thousand of photos she had collected.
There are 1,600 photos in the book. It kept growing and now sits at 350 pages of photos and stories.
Since the first printing in November, word of mouth has spread. Positive reviews and more requests for copies of the book convinced her to order another 100 copies. They should be ready just before Christmas.
“The first third of the book is all head shots, over 600 dogs and they are all in alphabetical order with their names – that was a challenge because for the first two years I didn’t take any names.”
The book also contains interesting facts about dogs and some stories provided by the dogs’ owners.
“They are all kind of heart-felt rescue stories,” she said.
One story tells the tale of the two young St. Bernard puppies who were trapped on a cliff in Hatzic in 2018. They were trapped for four days before Search and Rescue located and rescued them.
“I took the first pictures of them coming down the mountain.”
The dogs were adopted by two search and rescue team members.
Engh also wrote her own personal dog story about Tod, the inspiration for the book.
The project was delayed several times during the five years as Engh would stop for periods of time before going back to the book.
“I deal with anxiety and I had to quit so many times because I have so many health issues. So I’d quit, then start again and quit and start again. Near the end, my anxiety was getting worse and I thought I have to get this book done and get it out because people were expecting it,” she explained.
Copies of the book are on display at Mr. Pets and Sue’s Copy in Mission for people who want to take a look.
Anyone who wants to order a copy can contact Engh on the Dogs of Heritage Park Facebook page or email her at email@example.com.