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Casting A Real Life Dawg Pound: 5 Unknown Facts About Baker Mayfield’s 18-Dog ESPN The Mag Cover Shoot

The Cleveland Browns star QB walks the dogs for the Football Issue on newsstands Aug. 16

(Peter Yang for ESPN)

It’s always been a dawg-eat-dawg world in Cleveland and now that the Top Dawg for the Browns – quarterback Baker Mayfield – is one of the faces of the NFL, it’s also a dawg gone good time to check in with Mayfield and the new-look Browns.

Who better to dig on a dog story than ESPN’s Mina Kimes? The proud owner/spoiler/podcast partner of Lenny the Dog, Kimes continues her run of fantastic features that unearth subtle visual gems like “[Mayfield] stopping to pet Moose, the chocolate Lab who lives in the Browns’ office.”

While Kimes dug into what drives Mayfield for her written piece, Magazine senior photo editor Nick Galac took Front Row by the collar to share his secrets to wrangling 18 dogs for the cover and feature shoot.

“We narrowed down the hundreds of submissions to a short list and those dog owners were sent a questionnaire to fill out with questions asking about the dog’s availability for the shoot day, their temperament [and their] ability to take direction,” Galac said. “Seventeen dogs made the cut and Swagger, the Browns’ live mascot, was the first dog booked for the gig.”

Shelby L. Lacy produced the video above. Stacey Pressman supplied the video below.

  • None of the dogs in the May shoot were Mayfield’s, but he grew up with dogs and is a dog lover.
  • Mayfield is also apparently a dog whisperer. “Chloe the Shih Tzu tried picking a fight with Ellie the pitbull mix,” Galac said. “Luckily, Baker noticed Chloe’s antics right away so we pulled her from the pack and order was restored.” See below:
  • Cleveland’s “Dawg Pound” helped inspire the idea. “Our photographer for the cover shoot was Peter Yang, who is a great collaborator, and he was on board with the idea and he came up with the dog walking scenario. We wanted to include the city of Cleveland in the shoot, too, so we shot in an industrial area of the city.”
  • Lenny, Kimes said, “was not able to make it to the shoot in Cleveland because he doesn’t like to fly (though he’d be open to a private jet),” quickly adding, “he’s also a Seahawks fan.”
    Lenny flies with the ‘Hawks. “No offense, big doggie Swagger, Sir,” Lenny barks.
  • A “dog call sheet” served as the canines’ roster:
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