For over twelve years, photographer Nancy LeVine has documented our nation's senior dogs in all their variety and beauty. She writes, "My interest in the world of the senior dog began as my own two dogs began to approach the end of their days....I entered a world of grace where bodies that had once expressed their vibrancy were now on a more fragile path." These photographs have become part of her series Senior Dogs Across America.The aging dogs Nancy LeVine photographs are part of our lives and homes - whether at work on a farm or at ease in a big city living room, though some of her canine subjects share their lives with rescuers and still await their permanent homes. Her photographs of older dogs in rescues, shelters and sanctuaries, with their now more fragile bodies, are particularly poignant reminders of their need for tender care.
Earlier this year, Nancy LeVine visited and photographed dogs at Animal Haven, a nonprofit based in New York City that rescues homeless dogs and cats in New York and neighboring states. The Grey Muzzle Organization helps support their senior dog program with a grant for medical care for adoptable dogs.
We wanted to share some Animal Haven's senior dogs through Nancy LeVine's photographs, so we asked their Executive Director, Tiffany A. Lacey, to tell us more about Animal Haven's senior dog program and about the senior dogs Nancy met and photographed.
Animal Haven is a nonprofit organization that finds homes for abandoned dogs and cats throughout the Tri-State area, and provides medical care and behavior intervention when needed to improve chances of adoption. Founded in 1967, we operate an animal shelter in Manhattan and also provide programs that enhance the bond between animals and people.
One of Animal Haven’s special interests is rescuing senior dogs. Our organization always has quite a few dogs over the age of eight – both small and large – in its care. We offer them rehabilitation (if there is a medical issue) and socialization and training (if there is a behavior issue). Through its Executive Suite, Enrichment 2.0, Recovery Road Fund programs, fosters and other special partners, Animal Haven is committed to helping rescue as many senior dogs as possible.Animal Haven’s smaller senior dogs enjoy the Executive Suite program. Our ongoing goal is to pull at least one elderly dog per month from the NYC city shelter to find their second chance in The Executive Suite. Dogs in The Executive Suite program live in a cozy room in the main office area, which has plenty of light and recreates as close as possible a home environment at the shelter. When Animal Haven takes in older dogs, many of them are brought immediately to this area, where they stay until they are fostered or ready to be adopted. Without this special program, Animal Haven would not have the luxury of accepting the number of older animals it currently does. We then work to place the dog with a loving family.
Animal Haven also takes in larger senior dogs like King and Lucy. These two adorable senior Pitties came to us under two completely different circumstances but have each received the same amount of love and attention.
Lucy is a 9-year-old superstar. After being abandoned by her previous owner at a veterinarian’s office because her back legs stopped working, Animal Haven took her in and gave her the incredible gift of surgery and physical therapy with money raised through its Recovery Road Fund. After a few months, she was walking again and back to her happy-go-lucky self. To make this story even more special, after over a year in the shelter, Lucy was finally adopted by Animal Haven’s director of operations and his family. She now has a two-year-old human sibling and a big house to roam around in.10-year-old King was abandoned in an apartment building. He was then taken to the NYC city shelter where Animal Haven pulled him in partnership with our dear friend and social media sensation Susie’s Senior Dogs. He is now enrolled in our Enrichment 2.0 Program, which means he gets a lot of special training and time with our staff. Plus, he just finished three weeks of offsite training. Poor King is extremely anxious and should be placed with an experienced owner with no other animals or children. Animal Haven wants him to find a place to live out his golden years surrounded by love.
Animal Haven is always striving to increase the number of senior dogs rescued and placed. These older friends make wonderful companions and deserve the same love and attention that their younger counterparts receive.
For information about all of the wonderful organizations that Grey Muzzle supports, see Who We Help.
The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide.