Leo the dog

Leo stars in a new book created by his owner Pat Lenz. In the book each letter of the alphabet is a word relating to the lockdown accompanied by a relevant photograph of Leo.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes gathered at the Fideaux pet store in Healdsburg recently to meet a fluffy 3-year-old dog named Leo who is the star of a new book, “Leo’s Lockdown Lexicon,” by Pat Lenz.

Leo is a Bolognese, the Italian version of the Bichon Frise, and in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic Lenz decided to create a photo book about him.

“I’ve always done art, I’ve been a sculptor and did art installations for a very long time. I had an old Panasonic and I thought it’s about time (to use it),” Lenz said.

Before the COVID-19 lockdown, Lenz, who’s a Healdsburg resident, started working on photography with Sonoma County-based photographer, Caitlin McCaffrey.

“She’s an amazing photographer and she was giving me lessons and once lockdown started we continued with Zoom and my models were limited to Leo and Peter (her partner),” Lenz said.

She said after a few virtual photography lessons with McCaffrey she took a photo of Leo, “And I said this is the epitome of ennui and I thought, ‘what a fun word, I may have a dictionary going of words that relate to the lockdown with photographs of Leo.’”   

“Ennui” is a feeling of weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest.

Lenz decided to pursue the photo book project and she said it kept her sane during the first major COVID lockdown.

In the book, each letter of the alphabet is a word relating to the lockdown accompanied by a relevant photograph of Leo. Lenz said Leo was good at taking photos.

“He has a lot of expression and I think he enjoys it,” she said.

Another distinctive characteristic of Leo is his curly white hair that puffs up and stands on end — similar to Bob Ross. 

Lenz said about Leo’s fast growing hair, “This is au naturale.” 

Proceeds from the Oct. 2 book signing and photo op with Leo went to Compassion Without Borders.

Compassion Without Borders is a nonprofit that aims to find animals that are in the most urgent need of help yet the least likely to be helped due to geographic, cultural and socioeconomic barriers.

The organization runs four different programs, international dog rescue, California Central Valley dog rescue, local veterinary wellness and spay/neuter help in low-income neighborhoods and a Mexico wellness and spay/neuter program for animals south of the California/Mexico border.

“They do terrific work,” Lenz said.

Lenz said the event went well. “It was well attended even though it was a hot day and Compassion Without Borders brought two little dogs for adoption and I think they got adopted. It got the organization’s name to the community, which was important because they do such wonderful work.”

She said Leo had fun taking photos with the other dogs and their owners.

“Leo was exhausted (after), totally wiped out by his popularity.”

Leo also has his own Instagram page, @leoslockdownlexico.

“I’m going to start posting some of the photographs from the book,” Lenz said.

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