I have been writing about dogs for awhile now, from the perspective of a passionate advocate, and as a guardian. For quite a few years, I have been talking about the many ways old dogs are important, and how they enrich our lives from first hand experiences with my own dog. This year I have been volunteering each week with Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
You can understand why I was excited to get a chance to review the book, UNCONDITIONAL: Older Dogs, Deeper Love, by Jane Sobel Klonsky. If you haven't had the chance to have your life enriched by an older dog, the heartfelt words and images in this book could possibly send you straight to your closest rescue or shelter!
If you have known the love and companionship like I have from a senior sweetheart, be prepared for a rush of warmth straight to your heart, as you go down memory lane.
And get ready to shed a few tears. This is probably the longest I have taken to review a book filled mostly with pictures. I probably averaged four to six pages, or about three dog portraits, between tissues.
You can't help but shed a few happy tears witnessing the deep, heartfelt love on these pages.
Jane has done a wonderful job of illustrating why I love celebrating how the human-dog bond is demonstrated by dogs, and those who love them, across Grouchy Puppy. This poignant collection of essays and beautiful photos is a celebration of the special bond shared in each relationship.
If you want to introduce what it means to have a dog to a young person, get this magical book. If like me, you already love old dogs the most, then these portraits and essays will remind you why caring about old dogs is important. You get to write the chapter in their life!
For everyone else curious about why dogs, and older dogs are the best, let me share eight reasons, some described in this book, to open your heart to an older dog:
(1) Because your time together is brief, you don't take for granted even a second.
(2) For older people, adjusting to change can be hard, older dogs can show you how it's done.
(3) Dogs are a gift that changes how you look at the world.
(4) Each dog in our life is never replaced, only woven into our hearts.
(5) Their love is real, and uncomplicated.
(6) Quality of time together far outweighs any concerns about quantity.
(7) Having a limited amount of time together isn't tragic, unless you waste it being sad.
(8) Whether adopted late in life, or with you from puppyhood, dogs give fearlessly and influence positively to their people. They make you a better person for having known them, however long that time together is.
It was almost two years ago when I first learned about Jane's project centered on older dogs. What a joy to see this beautiful testament to the dogs we love. This is a magical book you can open on any page and immediately appreciate what makes the bond between a person and a dog special.
Jane Sobel Klonsky launched her photography career in 1976 as the first photographer to scale the cables to the top of the Verrazano Bridge to get a shot of the start of the New York City Marathon. For nearly thirty years, she was a major player in the world of commercial and sports photography. Her work has taken her around the world to Kenya to shoot photos of a family of Masaai Warriors; to record an international running competition in Tokyo; and to chronicle the untouched beauty of far-reaching places like Papua New Guinea, and Myanmar (Burma).
Her award-winning photographs have been published widely, and she has published several books, including one based on a 50,000 mile cross-country photographic tour of rural America taken with her photographer husband and two Great Danes. She continues to do extensive work for Getty Images. Mother to up-and-coming filmmaker Kacey, she lives with her husband, Arthur, their two therapy dogs, Charlie and Sam, and a cat, Humphrey, in rural Vermont.
UNCONDITIONAL: Older Dogs, Deeper Love (National Geographic Books; October 25, 2016; $19.95; 208 pages) Get your copy at your local bookstore or Amazon.