BOOKS—Beautiful Old Dogs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2013: (Actually published on October 8, 2013)
Beautiful Old Dogs Edited by David Tabatsky, with photos by Garry Gross St. Martin’s Press (c/o MacMillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010), 2013. 144 pages, hardcover. $17.99.
Beautiful Old Dogs features photos by fashion photographer turned dog photographer Garry Gross (1937-2010), matched with literary contributions by prominent dog-loving New Yorkers or former New Yorkers. Most are contemporary, including Anna Quindlen, Ally Sheedy, Doris Day, Dean Koontz, and Marlo Thomas, but the playwright Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) is also represented, celebrating the endearing qualities of aging pets. “I found dogs at forty-six,” recalls late night television comedienne Wendy Liebman. Having always before had cats, Liebman then found herself with two rescued dogs, Asti and Miko. “I can’t imagine my life without Asti and Miki, even though I’m the one walking them,” Liebman writes. “There is no love like loving your dog.” Carolyn Mason, a college professor, recalls how “When our last daughter left for college, Doug,” the deaf and partially blind family dog, “waited every afternoon next to the front door for her to return. Nothing could dissuade him from his vigil.” Including a list of resources for rehoming older dogs, Beautiful Old Dogs emphasizes that senior dogs may be a little gray around the muzzle and lack perfect hearing, but though reputedly difficult for shelters to rehome, they have plenty of love and affection to offer. They are usually housetrained, and usually do not dig, chew, or yank on a leash. Like the seniors in Beautiful Old Dogs, most just want love, food, and a warm place to sleep. ––Debra J. White