Mr. Winkle: Real Or Robot?
Some Fans Question Dog's Authenticity
Slideshow: Mr. Winkle In Chicago
The dog, named Mr. Winkle, has sparked a cult following. But some fans say the tiny dog is too cute to be real. NBC 7/39 viewers will be able to decide for themselves if Mr. Winkle is real, when the canine celebrity appears Friday on NBC 7/39 "News In The Morning."
The dog is on tour promoting his new children's book, "Winkle's World." It is illustrated with photographs of Mr. Winkle getting ready for bed, playing in the park, and getting a bubble bath.
Mr. Winkle's owner, the photographer for his books, says she rescued the dog from the side of the road five years ago. The dog rose from being a stray to an international celebrity with several books and a calendar.
"Before I found him, I was a magazine photographer," Lara Jo Regan said. "I found him on the way home from a shoot on welfare moms in a weird industrial area. Someone had dumped him on the side of the road."
She said the dog had a number of infections and showed signs of neglect when she found him, but when she took him home she immediately saw him as an "amazing muse to have as an artist."
After giving him the necessary care, Regan began photographing Mr. Winkle. She combined her photographs of the small, furry dog into a series called "What Is Mr. Winkle?"
She said she has created over 100 different characters for Mr. Winkle, along with a Web site and a calendar. That project eventually grew into greeting cards and three published books.
The tiny pup fascinates people. But Regan was surprised to find that many wonder if he's real.
"I know he's real and people who work with him know he's real, and I didn't realize it would be such a challenge to constantly convince people that he's real," Regan said.
"A lot of people think that Mr. Winkle is a stuffed animal that I photograph and that it's all a big hoax," she said.
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