These days, Bayou enjoys long strolls down Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Calif., and the occasional scratch behind the ears from a celebrity admirer. But he was nearly born on the side of a dangerous highway in Austin, Tex. Austin resident Kincade Park spotted a pair of dogs running along the highway on his daily drive. The next day, he saw that one of the dogs had been killed by a car, and realized he had to stop for the dog’s companion. Shirley, a Redbone Coonhound, turned out to be pregnant, and Kincade and his girlfriend Kelli Frizzell soon became foster parents to eight speckled puppies, including Bayou.
Kincade and Kelli contacted the Austin Dog Alliance (ADA), a rescue organization that provides animalassisted therapy to the community— including their Bow Wow Reading Dogs program at local schools and libraries, and a dog-centric social communication enrichment program for children affected by autism spectrum disorders. ADA listed Bayou and his siblings on PetFinder, and once Kartik Ramachandran and Breeze Braunschweig saw his photo, they just had to fly out and meet him.
Bayou is enjoying his new life as a California boy. He’s quickly taken to hot tubbing with Breeze and— after some initial trepidation—surfing with Kartik. With his star looks and sweet disposition, it’s no wonder that Bayou caught the eye of Bark’s editor when the young couple, with their pup in tow, were visiting her neighborhood in Berkeley, Calif. She took one look at the pup and knew he would be a perfect cover dog! During his photoshoot with Grace Chon , Bayou proved a natural model, with unpuppy-like patience and an instinct for hamming it up on camera.
Photographs by Grace Chon