Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our October/November issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.
Los Angeles photographer Lori Fusaro has always had a soft spot for animals. In addition to being staff photographer for Best Friends Animal Society and owner of Fusaro Photography, she volunteers her time taking pictures of shelter and rescue dogs. A beautiful photo shared through social media can often be the difference between a pet going unnoticed and losing her life or getting adopted.
In 2012, Lori was photographing shelter dogs when she came across a 16-year-old Pit Bull. The dog was sick and so depressed she wouldn’t lift her head or even take a treat. Unable to bear the thought of the poor dog dying alone, Lori impulsively adopted her and named her Sunny.
Lori’s experience with Sunny was so life-changing that it inspired her to team up with journalist Laura T. Coffey to publish My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts. The photos and stories tell the tales of adopted senior dogs who changed their rescuers’ lives.
We sat down with Lori to chat about adopting senior pets.
Dogster: Before you met Sunny, did you ever think you would adopt a senior pet?
Lori Fusaro: I never thought my heart could take it. Then I realized that so many people think that way. And so many [senior pets] have so few options that I just couldn’t turn my back anymore.
How do you cope with only having your new pet for a short time before having to say goodbye?
It’s not easy, but I just remember that the alternative for them at the shelter is so much worse. I just focus on how I can make each day special for them. Dogs live in the moment. They just enjoy their walks. Their toys. Their naps on the couch. I learned a lot from Sunny. She made me realize that no matter how long you have, every day is a good day. It’s all about love.
What do you want people to take away from My Old Dog?
That the joy of adopting an old dog absolutely outweighs the fear of losing them too soon. That age doesn’t diminish the love you can share. That even though sometimes it may be scary or hard, opening your heart only brings happiness. I think of Sunny and how much she changed me — how much she affected me for the better — and it’s something I wouldn’t change for the world. I want others to experience that.
Read more interviews on Dogster:
- We Chat With Roy Varga, the Dog-Loving Pinup Photographer
- We Chat With Emmylou Harris About Her “Shelter Me” Episode on PBS
- We Talk to “DWTS” Judge Carrie Ann Inaba About Remember Me Thursday
About the author: Jackie Brown is a freelance writer specializing in the pet industry. She lives in Southern California with her husband, son, and adorable Miniature Poodle, Jäger, who is obsessed with fetch and killing all the toys. She is the former editor of Rescue Proud, Dog World, and Puppies 101. Follow her on Twitter or visit her website.