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Amy © Julia Christe

Scotch © Julia Christe

It all started with a dog named Flinn and his frisbee. His owner, photographer Julia Christe, set out to capture in an instant the unbridled joy of playing dogs like Flinn, and after quite a lot of shenanigans with dozens of canines, Flying Dogs was born.

Christe met her flying dogs all over the place: she posted calls in veterinary offices and searched training classes. Some she stopped on the street and invited into her studio. Big dog or small dog, the only requirement was that they be healthy and willing.

Throughout the levitation process, each dog was kept safe and secure. The dog was usually lifted by his or her human. Once in the air, he or she would fall a very short distance onto a padded foam mat. A wind machine heightened the drama.

If any dog was at all upset by any part of the process, Christe put a stop to it, but most of them quite enjoyed it. You can see exactly what happened in Christe’s Making-Of video.

The flying dogs were rewarded with plenty of treats and toys, but there was one dog in particular who seemed to be in it purely for the fun of the jumping. Even after Christe had gotten the perfect shot, he continued to leap back up into his owner’s lap again and again, hoping to go flying once more onto the soft mat.

As it happens, the first or second frame was usually the winner. Christe was looking for that moment wonder and astonishment before the dog fully grasped what was happening. After a few jumps, the dogs quickly understood the process as a kind of game, and although they were happy to keep playing, they no longer pulled silly faces.

Flying Dogs is the work of a true dog-lover, one who understands that a dog’s life is not only about walking on a leash. It’s about being free to roam, free to smell, free to explore. Flinn was a puppy when the book began. Now he’s ten years old, technically a senior, but he still loves to chase his frisbee.

Flying Dogs can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. Visit the Flying Dogs website for books, posters, and other goodies.

Basko © Julia Christe

Flinn © Julia Christe

Gigan © Julia Christe

Mantao © Julia Christe

Arnie © Julia Christe

Tobi © Julia Christe