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Who Says Elderly Dogs Aren’t as Cute as Pups?

This photo project shows these canines have an aging message

By Jill Yanish

Puppies steal people’s hearts. But then they age and cease to elicit as many “awws” as they once did. Canadian photographer Pete Thorne wondered why.
So the 35-year-old set out to photograph elderly dogs in a project he’s titled: “Old Faithful.” The goal is to show the beauty and grace of older pets. Along the way, Thorne makes you think about how we see these traits in people, too.
“All the telltale signs point to a life lived, and there’s a history behind those eyes, even if they are clouded over and aren’t working too well,” Thorne says. “I just think there is so much character to these old doggies’ faces.”

(MORE: Do Our Dogs Look and Act More Like Us Over Time?)
So far, Thorne has photographed about 50 pictures for “Old Faithful,” and continues to add to the project on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

His goal of showing that old dogs are to be cherished has resonated around the world.
“Now people from all over are sending me messages of gratitude for sharing the stories of these old dogs and for increasing awareness of the plight of abandoned and neglected animals,” he says.
Thorne has seen firsthand through the project how older dogs are often passed over in favor of younger ones. When he began, he viewed elderly dogs solely as subject matter, something different from the endless photos of adorable pups saturating the Internet.
As he found dogs and their owners for the project, Thorne quickly recognized the deep relationships that form between humans and their pets over the years. Love grows as fur goes gray and eyes turn cloudy.
Thorne’s photographs capture not just physical evidence of aging, but also character, as seen in the still-quizzical tilt of one moptop dog’s head, and abiding calm embodied by an amber-eyed chocolate lab.

To view more images, check out Thorne’s website.

Jill Yanishwas formerly the associate editor for Next Avenue.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University and has written for various Twin Cities publications. Read More
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