Weekend Humor: Pooches of NY

"Ruff," said the dog about its life.

“Ruff,” said the dog about its life.

Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t, ya rube.

In the pantheon of photographic undertakings that make people sound more interesting than they are comes a new kind of project: Pooches of NY. The project took shape when 20-year-old photographer Donald Matheson realized that he couldn’t stop taking photos of his dog. The photos were fairly repetitive, so he decided to take his lens beyond the confines of his front yard. His candid portraits of dogs on the streets of his hometown of Astoria, Queens quickly became something much larger.

“I wanted to explore a dog’s life by approaching it from a dog’s level. I don’t think it’s ever been done before, and when you show an honest interest in the dog as a unique entity, you’ll find that it really opens up to you,” said Matheson over the phone.

While the project is on the up and up, it did not have an easy start. Most dogs, Matheson told us, simply weren’t interested. If they were interested, it was only because they viewed his leg as a beautiful partner they wanted to hump. This explains why a good chunk of Matheson’s early expenses were jeans.

The project started to gain traction when he found the right questions to ask. One of the most popular questions is, “What was your greatest ball?” This usually causes the dog to start panting, which is a difficult thing to articulate onomatopoetically. So in place of dialogue, Matheson will usually describe how the dog responded rather than try to imitate the sounds it made.

Widespread success of Pooches of New York has led to increased usage of the #pony hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and the exclamation, “This is such a PONY moment!” The latter usually occurs when someone spots somebody else walking a dog. If someone spots Matheson on the street, they’ll typically ask to take a picture with him, and he’ll say yes.

What they’ll usually do, however, is get on the floor and recreate the poses of their favorite PONY photos. In one instance, an 89-year-old man began humping Matheson’s leg while his 16-year-old granddaughter photographed them, despite Matheson’s and the granddaughter’s disgust.

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