When author Ken Foster approached publishers about his latest book idea, a full-color tome devoted to pit bulls, he was turned away again and again.
"I wanted to do this book five years ago, but no one would publish it, because pit bulls were viewed as these horrible monster dogs," says Foster, who, at the time he was approaching publishers, had already penned the best-selling The Dogs Who Found Me, a book about lessons learned from rescued strays. "Even though The Dogs Who Found Me sold 60,000 copies with a pit bull on the cover, that didn't convince publishers that anyone would buy a book about pit bulls."
But Foster knew firsthand that pit bulls were a misunderstood breed. That pit bull on the cover of The Dogs Who Found Me was Sula, his own rescued pit, who taught Foster that pit bulls are actually loyal, goofy, affectionate pups.
And that's what Foster conveys in his latest book, I'm a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America's Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet. The book covers not only the history of the breed (which is actually a mix of breeds) and how they got their bad rap, it also includes stories of real people and their pits. There's the tale of Dennis, a pit bull cast in the musical Oliver!, and Hamsa, who hangs out in his owner's bar and howls along to John Coltrane.
Throughout the book are beautiful full-color pictures of pits by photographer Karen Morgan, as well as historical photographs of celebrities with their dogs (Helen Keller and a young Dr. Seuss are both pictured with pet pit bulls).
"The obvious people who are snapping the book up immediately are people who already love pit bulls," Foster says. "But I hope it will start to leak beyond the already converted."
Booksigning and reading by Ken Foster, Thursday, January 24th, 6-7 p.m. at the Booksellers at Laurelwood