Down the track — Four&Sons
Community, Photography

Down the track

Thomas Freteur’s Cynodrome captures remote communities gathering at Belgium’s dog tracks.


Down the track

Photographer Thomas Freteur has been spending some time down at the dog tracks. There are only three (barely) remaining in Belgium, and Freteur’ natural tendencies toward unknown coteries dragged him from one to the other.

The remote communities, their short-term nervousness before the race and long-term unease about the future of the sport (for lack of funding), is desperately acknowledged on his series Cynodrome. And the baggage precedes Freteur’ study is interesting. “Two years ago, I covered the daily life of a pet cemetery… which slowly drives me to the background of greyhound racing in Belgium in 2014,” Freteur explains. “A friend brought me on a spring day to that incredible place, located 10km away from Liège (Belgium) and I directly jumped into that reality during one race season. I should also tell you that project helped me to face my fear of dogs, and I feel cured.”

Even from an impartial, initially frightened, perspective, Freteur is acutely aware of the camaraderie in the scene. He remembers overhead conversations, “There are people who do think that in a glance their dogs will run. But a dog, for racing, you need to give him love and training as soon as he reaches 8 weeks,” one trainer says. “We don’t go on vacations since 1998, our dogs bring us all around and that is our joy!”

All images by Thomas Freteur



A heartfelt thank you to all the photographers, artists, illustrators, and writers who trusted us, dived in, and brought us delight, grace, excitement, courage, wilderness, and wonder over the last five years. Their work not only reflects the bonds we share with our animal companions, it also celebrates their spirit.

None of this would be possible without our four-legged counterparts who sprinkle magic dust time and time again, and our readers, who embraced this kooky idea, rallied around us, and made this world theirs too. With friends like these, who needs nine lives?


Harrison Ford has taken on a role that was portrayed in the past by Clark Gable, Charlton Heston, and Rutger Hauer before him: the character John Thornton in the latest cinematic adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel The Call of the Wild. John Thornton becomes a human companion to Buck, the big St Bernard-Scotch collie mix who’s the heart of the story. The two meet in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, and head off on an adventure into the great unknown together. Interestingly, Buck was portrayed using motion capture by Terry Notary, who you might recognise from that dinner scene in 2017’s Palme d’Or winning film The Square. Watch The Call of the Wild on Google Play, iTunes, and more.

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