In 1870 in Missouri during the Burden v. Hornsby case, U.S. Sen. George G. Vest presented the closing remarks on behalf of Charles Burden, whose beloved dog Old Drum was shot to death by Leonidas Hornsby.
In Vest's remarks -- known as "Eulogy of the Dog" -- he stated: "The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog."
Photographers Will Robson-Scott and Ollie Grove's photo book "In Dogs We Trust"
-- like Vest's past "Eulogy of the Dog" about the unconditional love and loyalty of man's furry friend toward his owner -- highlights the present common belief that dogs are man's best friend.
In the photo book, childhood friends Robson-Scott and Grove explore the special relationship and capture the intimacy and affection that exists between dogs and their owners. "In Dogs We Trust," published and designed by Victory Edition, contains portraits shot on film and under natural light of dogs with their owners.
The title draws upon the phrase "In God we trust," as there are comparisons to be made regarding how people may be reliant on their dogs in the same way they are on their religion.
The portraits were made around the world, from California and New York and across the Atlantic to London. This diversity throughout "In Dogs We Trust" unleashes the commonalities of the world.
"We started out just really wanting to do an almost survey of modern-day dog ownership," Robson-Scott said. "And trying to show the widest spectrum possible -- from the average Joes on the street to CEOs to entertainers."
When deciding which portraits to include in the photo book, Robson-Scott and Grove sought out an additional perspective to ensure the final selections for "In Dogs We Trust" encompassed the perception of and interpretation from an external spectator.
"We worked on the project for about five or six years, so it's good to have fresh eyes on it," Robson-Scott said. "Also, when you put it in a book format you want things to read well together."
Because Robson-Scott is based in New York and Grove in London, they were able to effectively cover more ground than usual and enhance their observations.
A popular breed the photographers came across were French bulldogs, particularly among young professionals in New York. The pair also traveled to the West Coast of the United States, where they noticed pit bulls are the trending breed in the young male demographic.
"I would say there's this wave of pit bull dog breeders on the West Coast of America, specifically Los Angeles," Robson-Scott said. "There's a direct correlation for how (the pit bull owners) build their lowrider cars up. They want to make (their dogs) as big and bulky and low to the ground as possible, exactly like their lowrider cars."
Robson-Scott believes that a major reason some people agreed to have their portrait made is because their dogs would be with them. He cites renowned Magnum photographer Martin Parr as likely being one example of this.
"A lot of people would open their doors to you who wouldn't necessarily want their photograph taken -- celebrities or people of importance," Robson-Scott said. "There's a sense of pride as well. It's almost like a family photograph. ... Including the dog, it opens people up."
No matter who the subjects were, Robson-Scott says the primary goal was to maintain a sense of comfort and "to put the dog and the human at ease."
As for the idea that dogs look like their owners, he believes there is something much more significant to consider in terms of how dogs -- similar to children -- are the product of their environment.
"I'm not a big subscriber to the idea that dogs look like their owners, but they definitely follow their traits. You can see people's personalities rub off on their pets," Robson-Scott said. "It's not really bad dogs, it's bad owners who breed bad traits in their dogs. Each dog is an individual, is a person, but really the way they act is bound to how they've been brought up and trained by their owners."
Robson-Scott remains interested in exploring the relationship between dogs and their owners with Grove, and describes his experience creating "In Dogs We Trust" as enjoyable.
"(The photo book is) a little labor of love as well," Robson-Scott said.