Through a dog’s eyes

Andrew Wagstaff
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Krista Wells to launch new book in Parrsboro on Saturday

DILIGENT RIVER – If a dog in Portugal could write a book, Krista Wells has an idea of what it might look like.
In fact, the Diligent River artist and new author has completed Dogeared Journals, a new book of art and observations from a dog living in Portugal, by her four-legged pseudonym, Ruca Cao.

For Wells, who spends several months each year living in Portugal, it all started with a camera and a simple love for dogs.

“As far back as before digital cameras, I started taking pictures of dogs I would see in Portugal,” she explained. “The street dogs there just seem so laid back, relaxed and happy.”

Whereas North American dogs might be more likely to run up to a person who gets on their knees to photograph them, these Portuguese dogs will just sit and look back at you – a perfect natural subject.

With the advent of digital camera, Wells soon amassed a collection of more than a thousand images of various dogs, some of which she would draw in her travel journals. Often she would include little stories about her encounter with that dog.

She did not think about a book until a friend suggested she make a “dog-umentary.”

“I wasn’t sure where it would go, but I kept in in the back of my mind for awhile,” said Wells. “But there was this one dog I clicked with in particular. It became my alter ego, and I just went from there.”

All of the artwork in the book is from Wells, with stories told firsthand by the dog, Ruca Cao. The stories are a combination of fiction and actual events in the village where the dog lives, including the dogs search for the story of its father.

The author is thrilled with the finished product.

“It’s a book for dog lovers, for artists, or people who like to journal,” she said. “It’s also for people who are curious about other cultures, and travelers.”

The pages were designed by Wells, and the book was printed by a company owned by Amazon, where it will eventually be available for sale. For now, copies can be ordered from Wells through her website at, and at this weekend’s book launch at Main & Station.

The public is invited to the event on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 4-6 p.m. in the building’s upper gallery space, Parrsboro’s newest art centre in the historic former post office.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: North American, Main Station

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Portugal

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