Bestselling American writer Agnes Sligh Turnbull once said, “Dogs’ lives are too short. … Their only fault, really.”
When bringing a new puppy home, there’s always that dread in the back of your head — one day, you’ll have to say “Farewell,” at least until you can be reunited at the Rainbow Bridge. Dogs lives are simply not as long as ours, which makes their limited time with us all the more precious.
For photographer Nancy LeVine, watching her own two dogs approach their final days served as impetus for a cross-country journey capturing images of aging dogs occupying all facets of life in America, evoking the sensibilities of Robert Frank’s The Americans.
In observing these dogs and immortalizing them with photographic grace and dignity, LeVine puts it best in her artist statement for the body of work she calls Senior Dogs Across America: “I saw how the dog does it [aging]; how, without the human’s painful ability to project ahead and fear the inevitable, the dog simply wakes to each day as a new step in the journey.”
With sensitivity, respect, and compassion, LeVine’s photos tell a poignant story about what it’s like to live unaware of a body that is falling apart around you, of approaching obstacles without fear, and of accepting mortality with animal joy.
All photos via Nancy LeVine’s website and used with permission. Please like her Senior Dogs Across America with Photographer Nancy LeVine Facebook page to receive updates on the series.