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Writing Unleashed; Andrew DePrisco ’87

Andrew DePrisco ’87 never really considered himself a “dog person.” In fact, he grew up with a house full of cats.

Today, he’s editor in chief and vice president of Kennel Club Press, a division of Bow Tie, Inc., and the author of 12 books with titles such as Choosing a Dog for Life, A New Owner’s Guide to Training the Perfect Puppy, Canine Lexicon, Mini-Atlas of Dog Breeds, a book on the Shibu Inu, a breed he has owned since 1991, and his latest, Woof! A Gay Man’s Guide to Dogs.

“I really just fell into the dog thing accidentally,” says DePrisco, who has also trained and shown dogs in competition. But it’s an accident he didn’t mind since it has afforded him a 20-year career in the pet industry, one of the fastest growing industries in the country.

After graduating from Albright, the English/business major got a job as an editor in the dog department of TFH Publications, a pet publishing company. Only three years later, in 1990, he wrote his first book, Mini-Atlas of Dog Breeds, which has since been translated into five languages. An award-winning member of the Dog Writers Association of America, he has also edited hundreds of dog books and conceived of countless others, including Dog Heroes of September 11th: A Tribute to America’s Search and Rescue Dogs by Nona Kilgore Bauer. “The book was released in NYC on the fifth anniversary of September 11,” DePrisco says. “The response was just heartwarming. The [dog] handlers were so emotional about being recognized.”

From heartwarming to side-splitting, DePrisco’s latest book was the most fun to write, he says. Woof! A Gay Man’s Guide to Dogs, a “very un-PC” humor book, depicts all 28 breeds of gay men from the All-American Boy through the Yenta, highlighting the suitability of each as a potential dogowner. In the book, DePrisco recommends which purebred dogs make the best companions for the various types of gay men.

DePrisco admits, “The research was a little perverse at times. I really had to weed through a lot to find the ‘real’ info.” But, while he says there really is a lot of information buried in the book, “it’s clear it’s done in fun.” He even met with men in each category to make sure they weren’t offended. Humor aside, the moral of the story, says DePrisco, “is a well bred, well cared for dog can be a great companion no matter who you are.”

Through his work, DePrisco also found his perfect canine companions. Seventeen-year-old Tengu and two-year-old Azuki are Japanese Shibas, a breed he fell in love with while writing his very first book. DePrisco, Tengu and Shiba live in New Jersey with DePrisco’s partner, Robert, and Robert’s dog, Max.

A self-proclaimed “Show Tune Queen,” DePrisco is also the founder and president of Cabaret for Life, Inc., a nonprofit organization that raises funds for AIDS groups in New Jersey through musical comedy productions. Cabaret for Life, which he started in 1995, has raised about $150,000 to date.“The thing I always say about my college experience,” says DePrisco, “is that Albright was a place where I learned to think, to never accept things at face value, and to always ask questions.”

– Jennifer Post Stoudt

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