Most close up professional quality dog photos feature young dogs with sleek coats, fresh faces, and not a hint of gray hair. The same can be said for humans, professional portraits are often reserved for the younger years. Yet portraits of the elderly are beautiful, and full of so many stories no young face can compete.
One Toronto based photographer by the name Pete Thorne takes photos of old dogs in order to capture something incredibly special, a lifetime of friendship shared between a dog and their human family. Thorne actively seeks clients looking to photograph their “really, really old dogs.”
Dogs live vivacious lives, they live in the now, and are always down to play, and as a result they give us the hope and laughter we need to get through the toughest of times. So think of your old faithful four-legged companion, and enjoy these touching photographs of old dogs.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Thorne explained, “Last year my grandmother turned 100 (now 101!), and I became interested in photographing older subjects after a trip to Halifax to photograph her birthday party.”
Although it was elderly people that inspired Thorne, he specializes in dog portraits because he feels old dogs are all too often “overlooked by photographers in favor of cute puppies.” Thorne is quick to add, “Don’t get me wrong, I love puppies too.”
This 12-year old Chihuahua really is missing her eye, but Stella is still so cute! Thorne mentions Stella’s cute little attitude.
It’s not any easier photographing old dogs, they might be less hyper than their younger peers, but dogs will be dogs! Thorne admits to using treats, toys, or just about anything to get the dogs to stand still long enough to take their photo. He says the issue with older dogs is they are often blind, deaf, or both–making it hard to keep their attention, as well as distract them! Despite any associated challenges, Thorne loves his job all the same.
This photo was taken just after Clobis’ 14th birthday. His family is sure glad to have the photo, as Clovis passed on to doggy-heavy shortly after this portrait was taken.
Owners always seem to work as a great distraction tool. Thorne laughs about it, but he will often get his clients crawling around on the floor in order to get the dog focussing the right way for the photo. Just goes to show how loyal dogs are, always got their eye on their owner–even when in company of new friends.
Thorne includes testimonials with his photographs, because of the sentimental value they add. He now encourages all of his clients to write something about their dog before the portraits are taken. In only a few words or sentences, what would you say about your old pal?
Meet Mance, a 13-year old English Bulldog with bone cancer. Thorne enjoyed photographing Mance because of the “asymmetrical charm” his sweet face had to offer.
Hazel has had some rough days in her life. Due to a painful condition that caused no tear production, Hazel had both of her eyes removed. She also contains 5-different microchips each representing a different puppy mill she was sold to. Thanks to Blanche Axton, Hazel was adopted and given a happily ever after story.
People love their pets, there is no doubt about that, although Thorne admits learning through this project just how much people love and connect with their animals.
Thorne told Bored Panda, “A lot of the stories of these dogs involve rescuing them from pet-mills, foreign countries, and from threats of being put down.”
“I think the key to a longer and more substantial canine life really just comes down to the love and caring that these old doggies receive from their parents.” -Pete Thorne
What a pawsome photographer!