‘Underwater Puppies’ are even cuter than dogs (Photos)

WASHINGTON — About four years ago, California-based photographer Seth Casteel set to the enviable task of photographing dogs delightedly jumping into pools.

The resulting work, “Underwater Dogs,” became a New York Times bestseller, with dozens of adorable, if awkward, photos. Some of the canines resemble aliens, but mostly they just look utterly thrilled to be splashing around.

Casteel is back with a follow-up to his mangnum opus. In “Underwater Puppies,” he employs a similar tactic to get the canines to swim: the unstoppable allure of a tennis ball.

He used this technique in his first book, but the puppies were a little more reticent than their adult counterparts, Casteel says on his website. Some of the pups — which ranged from 6 weeks to 6 months old — had never swam before, which meant having even more patience with his furry models.

“Many of the puppies only swam for a few minutes and learned about buoyancy, their physicality in the water and most importantly, how to get out of a pool, but some of the puppies immediately thrived and began playing, jumping in and chasing toys,” he says on his website.

Casteel started photographing aquatic canines after meeting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Buster. Casteel thought he and the playful canine were in for a day of “on land” portraits, but Buster couldn’t get enough of the pool. He kept diving in and emerging as a totally different looking dog.

Click the image to see photos of “Underwater Dogs”

At the time, Casteel didn’t have an underwater camera, so he rushed out to purchase one and never looked back.

The projects are meant to inspire a sense of fun, but also to help pet owners better understand their companions.

“Each year, thousands of pets drown in backyard swimming pools in the United States because proper safety measures have not been taken by their human companions,” he says.

“These terrible tragedies can be prevented.”

And some of these dogs can be adopted. An avid animal lover and advocate, Casteel used rescue animals for many of the 72 photos featured in the book.

“I worked with hundreds of adoptable puppies from animal rescue groups all over the United States,” he says.

“The goal was to feature some Amazing Rescue Puppy Ambassadors to remind people that adoption is a wonderful option.”

For his next project, Casteel is photographing underwater babies. Stay tuned for more on that project.

You can purchase “Underwater Puppies” now by visiting Casteel’s website.

See some of the puppies in action below:

Related story: ‘Underwater Dogs’ leap, splash, swim into your heart

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