PRESTON HOLLOW PETS ON THE CAT WALK

Photographer David Woo knows the truth about cats and dogs. In between a lifetime of assignments at the Dallas Morning News, he photographed 80 celebrities and their pets. His 2009 book “Top Dogs and Their Pets” with co-contributor Richard Michael Pruitt is a time capsule, capturing the bond between some Preston Hollow luminaries and their pets — pets who seemed unimpressed by their owners’ fame. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book goes to the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation, a nonprofit by the star of the television show “The Top Dog Whisperer.” Woo (above with Chester) is still wowed by the memories.

ACTOR OWEN WILSON AND GARCIA

The movie “Wedding Crashers” had just come out, so Woo and his wife went to Santa Monica to photograph Owen Wilson. “You’d think he’d live in some huge Beverly Hills home but it was completely covered with big bushes like you’d see in Preston Hollow,” Woo says. Wilson came downstairs wearing khaki pants and a wrinkled shirt. He smelled like vapor rub. “He’s very nice. The way you see him acting on TV, that’s the way he is in person,” Woo says. “He’s crazy about his dog.” Woo asked Wilson if Garcia jumps. Wilson grabbed some turkey from the fridge. “And he’s standing there, and he brings out some turkey, and that’s how the photograph was made.”

FORMER FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH WITH BARNEY AND MISS BEAZLEY

Woo had been photographing the Bushes since 1984 when he met Laura Bush at the White House for the photo shoot. “Don’t speak to Mrs. Bush unless she speaks to you,” said her press secretary, unaware that the two had met on past assignments during the governor’s race in Texas.

Why Miss Beazley? She is named after Oliver Butterworth’s book “The Enormous Egg.” 

Nobody knows: Barney thinks he’s in training to be a Secret Service agent. Plus: Barney likes to play soccer.

How he got the President: Mrs. Bush posed with Barney and Miss Beazley. Woo asked if the president was busy. Mrs. Bush told him the president was visiting with someone from Iraq. “You are welcome to stay if you have time,” she told Woo. “I’ve been trying to get the President for this for a couple of months, and he’s just really been busy.”

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH WITH BARNEY

The Bushes had just moved into their Preston Hollow home in 2008, and there wasn’t much furniture in the place. The president walked in and used the nickname he gave photographer Woo during his years as Texas governor. “Woo-zy, how long is this going to take? Where do you want me?” Woo asked if he’d mind taking off his tie. “I never saw someone take off a tie as fast in my life,” Woo says. During his research, Woo had seen a photo of Bush saluting the Marines. He asked Bush if he could do a similar salute. “Sounds like a great idea,” Bush said. Woo got off 10 or 15 shots when Bush asked, “Are you done?” 

FOOTBALL STAR ROGER STAUBACH AND RYAN

Staubach named his dog after a Catholic chaplain, the Rev. Joe Ryan.

Ryan’s worst habit: Snoring.

Nobody knows: Staubach buys his dog pumpkin bread from Starbucks.

Says Woo: “Staubach was just an old buddy and we were sitting down,” Woo says. “He was easy to be with. Staubach was very patient, and so was his dog.”

MUSICIAN LISA LOEB AND CHINCHY MORTY 

The cat’s worst habit: biting

Her pet’s favorite treat: He likes to play with strawberries.

Says Woo: “Lisa Loeb’s cat was naughty. He was all over the place. That cat was one of the most difficult to shoot.”

BUSINESSMAN TOM HICKS AND RANGER

Hicks wishes Ranger could: Pick up a dead quail better.

Ranger’s favorite treat: Eating off the dinner table.

Says Woo: “I knew Hicks for 30 years. We walked in and there were so many huge stairways. His dog wouldn’t sit real still, but if you look at the photo closely, you can see that Hicks had a chokehold on his collar.”

MUSICIAN STEVE MILLER AND LADY, DAISY AND MAISEY

Millers’ pets’ worst habits: Waking up early.

His pets’ favorites treats: Two-inch Porterhouse steaks.

Says Woo: “Miller is one of these guys I’ve known since the ’80s. I just shot his album cover last year. I’m fixin’ to go on tour with him. We have been to two of the four homes he owned.  I asked him to play ‘Fly like an Eagle’ in the background. He had three rescue dogs. He just sat on the floor and played with them. They were jumping everywhere, and he was very patient. He gave me the most time out of all the people in the book.”

PET POINTERS: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S TIPS

Always have a treat, and always have someone behind you with a treat. 

Ask the owner if it’s okay first.

Lighting is important. Never shoot in the bright sunlight; use a dark background.

Pay attention to objects in the back; you don’t want objects coming out of an animal’s head.

Good luck with cats.

—David Woo


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