Journalist Laura T. Coffey and photographer Lori Fusaro have captured just how wonderful senior dogs can be. The two women collaborated on a book titled My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts, taking the time to meet older canines who are typically animal shelters' highest-risk population. Fusaro photographed a diverse group of senior dogs in an effort to share their lovable nature, giving potential adopters the opportunity to reflect on their choices and rethink about the potential within these aged dogs. Accompanying these uplifting images, the series includes statements from the humans who have given these precious pooches a new forever home. They add valuable insight to the book by sincerely discussing how these pets have changed their lives for the better.
Within the publication's pages, readers will find dogs like Marnie, an endearing shih tzu who has won over celebrities like Betty White and Tina Fey. There's also George Clooney's cocker spaniel named Einstein; a 9-year-old dog who was inspiringly adopted by elderly nuns; and Bretagne, the last surviving search dog from Ground Zero. Together, these mature shelter dogs symbolize the power of second chances.
Above: Cody, a former law-enforcement K9, became a misunderstood shelter dog after he retired from police work. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
After he got sprung from a shelter, Rocky moved into the memory care unit of an assisted living facility on a full-time basis. There, the golden retriever helped and supported a group of women with dementia. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Matt Hatala struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned home from serving in Afghanistan. Hatala credits Chaney, the military dog he was able to adopt after the dog's retirement, with saving his life, and he has become an advocate for the benefits of service dogs for veterans. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Chaney, a retired military working dog, trekked thousands of miles and sniffed out explosives during multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010 and 2011, Chaney's handler was U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Matt Hatala. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Old Dog Haven co-founders Lee and Judith Piper used to describe what they and other Old Dog Haven volunteers did as hospice work. They've since rephrased that for the sake of accuracy. “Now I call it ‘assisted living,'” Judith Piper says in My Old Dog. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Photographer Lori Fusaro adopted Sunny from a crowded shelter in the Los Angeles area. Then 16, the dog definitely had health issues–infected eyes and a large cancerous tumor on her leg–but Fusaro felt almost irresistibly drawn to Sunny. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Guess who fell in love with this happy cocker spaniel named Einstein through an online video? None other than actor and filmmaker George Clooney. Before he got rescued, Einstein was an obese stray who was hours away from being put down at a crowded California shelter. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
When Fiona arrived at a Southern California shelter at age 15, she could barely walk. Shelter staff took a liking to her, and they wheeled her around in a red wagon to prevent her from having to exert herself. Fiona got adopted by a woman who gave her home-cooked meals and a soft bed, and before long, the dog regained her mobility. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Senior dogs Flopsy and Sebastian were rescued from neglect in a backyard. Despite their arthritis, they still love to play, chase squirrels, and frolic in parks. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Even though dogs over the age of 6 or 7, like the one pictured here, make fabulous pets, they often represent the highest-risk population at animal shelters across the United States. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
At age 6, Duval found himself struggling with severe skin allergies and needing a place to call home. The pit bull got adopted by a Los Angeles couple who helped him become a certified therapy dog and reading education assistance dog for elementary school children. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Gabby (far left), Duval (center), and Sunny (far right) became the best of friends in their later years. Duval and Sunny were adopted as seniors and both dogs thrived in their new, loving homes. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Maddie, a tiny shih tzu rescued as a senior, helped a 75-year-old widow overcome depression and anxiety. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Stella got abandoned right before Thanksgiving one year when her owner moved and decided to leave her behind. After she got adopted from a shelter, her new owner marveled at how happy Stella was and how much she relished opportunities to play and go for car rides. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Old Dog Haven provides ‘final refuge' foster homes to about 280 dogs while covering the costs of all their medical care and prescription diets. Foster families get to care for calm, content pets–sometimes for several years–without ever having to worry about a single vet bill. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Sasha, pictured here, found herself homeless and alone as a senior dog in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. She ultimately got adopted by her foster mom, who fell hopelessly in love with her. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Sunny fit right in with Lori Fusaro's other rescue dog, Gabby (right), and she went on to thrive for more than two and a half years until she reached the age of 18 in her new, happy home. Sunny inspired a photography project that ultimately led to the creation of this new book. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
This is one of hundreds of dogs saved from euthanasia in shelters by the group Old Dog Haven, the largest senior-dog rescue group of its kind in the United States. Thanks to a network of foster homes throughout western Washington state, Old Dog Haven places senior shelter dogs in permanent foster homes and continues to cover all veterinary costs for the rest of the dogs' lives. (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
“The book's dedication page reads, ‘This book is dedicated to all the older dogs who deserve to have remarkable second acts. And to Sunny, the dog who changed everything.'” (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Author Laura T. Coffey is pictured with her two senior dogs, Manny (left) and Frida. Photo copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog” (Copyright Lori Fusaro / “My Old Dog”)
Photographer Lori Fusaro is pictured with her two senior dogs, Sunny (left) and Gabby. (Photo credit: Rita Earl)
The cover of the book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts features quite a character: Stacie, a female cocker spaniel rescued by the group Old Dog Haven in Washington state.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by New World Library and Lori Fusaro.