“Beautiful Old Dogs: A Loving Tribute to Our Senior Best Friends” is several books in one magnificent package. “Beautiful Old Dogs” is a collection of photographs that reveal the souls of the subjects and their photographer, it’s a tribute to that photographer, Garry Gross — who left this world in 2010—and it’s a memoir of owners reflecting on their four-legged family members. And “Beautiful Old Dogs” is also a reference source for those interested in the care and love of senior dogs.
The photographs stand alone. They are not captioned. There is no name, no age, no gender. There is simply…the dog. Look deep into those eyes. They have much to tell. And you alone must determine their story.
I read “Beautiful Old Dogs” with my own senior dog by my side. It had been my intent to read it out loud as a lark, a little fun adventure for us. Opening the book at random, my eyes locked with the severely clouded eyes of an alert little terrier. I stared, bewildered and bewitched, at the photograph. “Who are you? Where have you been? What do you see now?” My questions went unanswered. I felt compelled to examine each photograph—all 44 of them—before settling down with the essays.
The essays are short, rarely more than a page or two in length. Some are about the photographer. Most, however, are about dogs, written with love by those who shared their lives. For example, the last will and testament of Blemie reads, “I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things.”
Then, Anna Quindlen divulges what it is like to put a dog down. Laurie Rubin speaks about learning to dance with her guide dog, Mark. Louden Wainwright shares his experience: “Ghosts in the house…I was almost sure I heard the dog’s toenails against the hall floor.”
Several times, when the words on the page began to blur, I rubbed the fur of the senior sleeping at my side and checked to make sure he was still breathing. As he dreamed on and his legs began to move, I imagined he was greeting the venerable residents of the photographs. He knows their stories now. If I pay close attention, he will share them with me.
Grey Muzzle is pleased to be included in the “Resources for Care And Custody” section of “Beautiful Old Dogs.” We’re also happy to share that we have a copy of the book to give away to the next Grey Muzzle supporter to sign up for our Grey Muzzle e-news.
*UPDATE* - Barbara Vass was the lucky winner of the book giveaway!