Most dogs play big roles in their humans’ lives. They’re part of the family, greeting us when we get home, going for walks with us, traveling with us. Dogs comfort us when we’re sad and make us even happier when we’re happy. You’d think with the giant role they play for us that they’d all be great big giants… but that’s only true of one dog: a Miniature Dachshund named Vivian.
Vivian and her human, Mitch Boyer, a freelance illustrator, photographer and director, live together in New York. Not only is Vivian his pet, she’s also his muse. Boyer transforms pictures of Vivian to make her look much larger than what she is in real life. The idea, he told Petcha.com, is to match her size with her larger-than-life personality. You see, Vivian may be small, but she sure doesn’t know it — something many small dog owners can relate to, for sure.
“I made the very first one in the summer of 2014 while I was sitting in a lecture. She’s much larger in that picture — she towers over the Vancouver skyline and is breathing fire… Vivian’s always had a large personality and thinks she’s a much bigger dog than she actually is, so it came really naturally,” Boyer told Petcha.com. “I actually forgot about that image for a while but remembered it after watching a music video that featured a giant head singing on the Coney Island boardwalk. It made me laugh and I immediately wanted to revisit the idea of a giant Vivian. I started pumping out new images, but this time, she was only 6 feet tall, not Godzilla-sized.”
Boyer and Vivian became a family about five years ago when Boyer took her in. “My sister has a Miniature Dachshund named Go Go, who had a litter of puppies,” Boyer told Petcha.com. “My dad delivered them all in the middle of the night, and I got a call early the next morning. I rushed over there, and almost instantly fell in love with Vivian. The rest is history, I guess.” And quite a history it’s been. The 5-year-old Miniature Dachshund – whose birthday is the day before Halloween, Boyer tells us – became her human’s photo subject pretty much immediately (and has made for a pretty awesome Instagram account).
“I started photographing her the day she was born,” he said. “I think most dog owners take a ridiculous amount of pictures of their dogs, and I’m no different.”
Now Boyer plans to put the giant Vivian in a children’s book, called “Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn.” The 32-page book (standard for children’s picture books) follows Vivian as she moves from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Brooklyn, New York, Boyer said. It will be full of photo illustrations that Boyer created. Valerie Navarro contributed to the lettering and drawings.
“Initially, she’s thrilled about the move because she thinks all of the dogs in the ‘big city’ will be as big as she is,” he told Petcha. “She quickly becomes disenchanted upon arriving and realizing she’s still the only giant dog around. She leaves her human behind and sets out on a return journey to Albuquerque.”
Boyer drew on his personal experience for the book.
“I’ve moved around a lot as a kid and adult — I’ve lived in nine states, 15 cities, and 22 different houses or apartments,” he said. “I think that’s had a huge impact on who I am as a person. I work as a freelance illustrator, photographer and director. I guess my passion centers around telling stories. The story is definitely inspired by my experiences of moving around a lot as a kid. I really wanted to tell a compelling story with the images, so I pitched a bunch of ideas to my girlfriend, and she helped me refine them into the story it is now.”
Boyer teased that we’ll have to get the book to find out what happens next and we’re all for doing just that. Right now a campaign on Kickstarter is underway to get the book published.
The campaign is off to a good start, having already exceed its goal of raising $10,080. Funds raised in the campaign go toward printing (the more money raised, the better the book will look), a trip to Albuquerque to shoot some of the book’s scenes and finding a canine co-star for Vivian.
As for future children’s books featuring a giant Vivian, “It’s definitely something I’m considering,” Boyer told us. “I think there are a lot of life lessons and ways that Vivian’s character can help kids (and adults) deal with big changes in life. It’s a subject that really fascinates me. Hopefully, this story is just the beginning!”
We hope so, too.