Nancy Levine's new book senior dogs across america
Nancy LeVine reached out to me about a year ago to tell me about this amazing project that had consumed her life for several years. I was in awe of the project and am now proud to present her book, Senior Dogs Across America. She explores how she came to find herself on this path back in 2006. Here is her artists statement:
"11-24-06 My dog, my muse, died today... on my birthday. She died only 5 months after her sister, my other muse. She licked my face – my tears – in the last moments of her life. My nine months of caring for two failing bodies is over now. The vet visits, acupuncturist, swim therapist, cardiologist, medications, supplements, diapers, stroller, my vigilance to their silent needs…hoping not to miss any. I loved them passionately. To the quiet, exquisite presence of each aged dog, I honor them with this work. To the tight cord of love between them and their person(s), so profoundly palpable, I dedicate this work.
Twelve years ago, I began traveling the United States to photograph senior dogs. Like the diverse human pageant that Robert Frank captured in his book, The Americans, back in the 1950’s, I found dogs inhabiting all manner of American life -- and with many years inscribed in their beings.
My interest in the world of the senior dog began as my own two dogs began to approach the end of their days. This was at a time when I had lived enough years to start imagining my own mortality. I entered a world of grace where bodies that had once expressed their vibrancy were now on a more fragile path.
I saw how the dog does it; 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. Though their steps might be more stiff and arduous, these dogs still moved through each day as themselves -- themselves of that day and all the days before.
As mortality was weaving its way through this project, so was another American thread. The media were consumed with reports about our country’s sharp political fractures. It was all about the Red/Blue conflicts and the strident voices leading the charge. Yet, what I witnessed in my travels was something quite different. It was people caring for the most vulnerable dogs. Whether the senior dog was part of a family where the dog/person devotion knew no bounds or one of the elders being tended at an animal sanctuary, I saw something much deeper than our divisions, something important about where we live and the best way to die."