British paramedic Chris Porsz has photographed hundreds of dogs pursuing his photography hobby, but even he was stunned to capture a hilarious image of a flying collie in New York City.
“It was a lucky shot,” Porsz, 66, tells PEOPLE. “I went to see a cousin in New York but she was ill, so I went and sat in Union Square and there was a lady just throwing a ball to a black and white collie.”
Porsz, who has compiled 200 of his best pooch pics into a book called Barking!, says the moment he snapped the shot happened in the blink of an eye.
“The dog was facing the owner and then it suddenly leaped in the air and kind of did a flip so that it faced me,” he recalls. “I just clicked away and fortunately, it was in focus. It made that trip to New York all worth it.”
Porsz uses photography as a way of de-stressing from his busy work tending to the medical needs of those living in his home city of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
For the past 30 years, he’s mainly been a street photographer, capturing the real-life face of modern Britain for a column called the Paramedic Paparazzo in his local newspaper The Peterborough Telegraph.
That all changed earlier this year, though, when he decided to switch to photographing dogs for “something new and different.” He’s since traveled the length and breadth of the U.K. and continental Europe in search of subjects.
“I literally walk for miles and miles just looking for dogs that stand out from the crowd,” Porsz says. “Just something a bit quirky, a bit surreal, just something a little different.”
He adds, “They’re generally not posed. I try not to pose them, but I do try to catch their attention because I like their spontaneous reactions. I go for that eye contact a lot of the time and I speak in their language. It sounds crazy, but if they’re not looking, I give them a bit of a bark or a woof or a meow, and that usually works. Then I tend to get a better image.”
For now, though, there’s one additional thing on his mind.
While he gave his card to the leaping collie’s owner, he forgot to get her details in return, leading Porsz on a mission to find the woman in question and present her with a free copy of Barking!
“I’m sure she could be found,” he says. “She’s probably a regular in the park. Another one I’d like to trace is a police officer who was in Grand Central [Terminal] with a K9 dog. Again, I gave him my card, but he doesn’t know he’s in the book either.”
For those looking for the perfect pup-themed stocking stuffer ahead of the holidays, Barking! is on sale now.