Dogs are always there for you, no matter what. Sure, sometimes they bark really loud, pee on your carpet or get into heated scuffles at the local dog park, but you forgive these things because they’re friends, not mere pets. As humans, when things get old (whether they’re material goods, people or man’s best friend), neglect can set in. People call less, sweaters don’t get worn as often (or at all) and people can sometimes ignore their furry buddies because they’re not cute for Instagram anymore. That’s not a happy reminder of life, but it’s not not true.
That’s why the “Old Faithful” project from Toronto’s Pete Thorne is so magnificent. He photographs older dogs who aren’t show-ready or going to be in the next Purina commercial, and features them in all of their aged glory. He even writes up a back story for each featured dog on his community Facebook page so you can learn more about each furball. And now, he’s got a book coming out!
To mark the occasion, Thorne is holding a competition to see which precious doggy should be featured on the interior cover. The four finalists have been revealed, and one canine has a commanding lead.
We love Stanley, but show some love for Beulah, Colonel and Isis over on Old Faithful’s Facebook page.
As for the other doggies shot by Thorne? Well, we’re literally crying (tears of joy) looking at these majestic four-pawed friends, and we think you will, too:
These incredible portraits of old dogs are the best thing you’ll see today
Old Faithful"Meet Emmy, the 14-year-old wolfhound mix. This proud bearded lady got so excited for her photo shoot, she pooped in my roomie's shoe."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"Emmy, a Wolfhound cross, was one of the first dogs I met and photographed for this project," Pete writes. "I normally don't take over 200 photos of one dog, but I did of Emmy. Not because she was difficult, but because every time she moved she had a completely different expression on her face." Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"Finnegan is a Brussels Griffon smooth coat, or a Petit Brabançon," writes Pete Throne after the shoot took place in 2014. "He is 12.5 years old, weighs six lbs and is small for his breed."
Finnegan has a heart murmur, and has had multiple teeth pulled, but otherwise he's in great health. Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulPete writes, "[This] 13-year-old snaggle-toothed Italian Greyhound [is] Gigi!"
Her owner also chimed in, writing, "Gigi was the runt and only female of a litter of 5. She was going to be bought by a guy who wanted to puppymill her to make quick cash. So I scooped her up! She's the best dog ever." Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"I would like to introduce you to Coda-Bear, a 12-year- old Yorkie cross who is [as of January 31, 2015] looking for a home. She came to SAINTS [in Vancouver] with mammary and rectal tumors and is awaiting pathology reports to see if they're malignant. Despite the hardships in her life she is extremely playful and energetic, living life to the fullest every day!" Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Sandy, Benjamin's owner: "Benjamin was found as a stray and ended up in a shelter about a year and a half ago. Pugalug Pug Rescue took him in and we were his foster parents. Due to his age and his medical problems, Ben was put in the "Abode Program"; he would be a long term foster. We thought it was important that he have a forever family, so we adopted him. He is estimated to be about 14 years old."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulPete writes, "Meet Beulah the 15.5-year-old pug! This chipper little fella is smiling because the Old Faithful Photo Project just accepted a book offer from HarperCollins!!!"Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Colonel Sanders' owner, Morgan: "The Colonel is a 10-year- old Chinese Crested. He is a purebred show dog with best in show lineage dating back several generations to Asia. He was born with only one testicle, so he was unable to show. He has been with me since he was three months old and we hitchhiked across Canada together. The Colonel travelled in a pouch on my chest and we snuck him into places under the guise of a baby."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Pete: "The Colonel is one of the coolest old doggies I've met, and now his awesomeness is being recognized by super cool Portland, Oregon's The Mercury, an arts/music/culture weekly!"Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Hogarth (a.k.a. Mr. Fusspot)'s owner: "Mr. Fusspot, himself, is a pro. The camera loves him and he was an absolute angel about sitting on his mark, looking to one side, looking to the other side, lowering his head, and looking up. Now admittedly a lot of this was accomplished by me crouching next to the photographer and waving a liver bit in the air to keep the Fusspot's attention focused, but given that he is half-blind and quite deaf, communication can be difficult at times, but he handled the whole thing LIKE A BOSS."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"Meet Hazel! She was named after Hazel McCallion, the Mayor of Mississauga. This tough old gal had both her eyes removed due to pain and no tear production, and has 5 microchips from being re-chipped every time she was sold to a new puppy mill. Luckily she was rescued and adopted by Blanche Axton at Pugalug.Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Pete: "Mance is a 13-year-old Old English Bulldog, a breed close to my heart. He has bone cancer that adds a lot of character to his face. He's in a pretty fragile state, so I made my first trip out of the home studio to photograph him, in all his asymmetrical charm."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Amos' foster mom, Susan: "Amos was saved from a kill shelter in Kansas, Missouri, [and] he was transported up to Winnipeg by some kind volunteers to Before the Bridge Senior K9 Rescue. I was told I would be fostering a small Pomeranian mix with dry eyes. Instead, I ended up with a 16-lb sheltie cross dog who was very weak in the hind and was mostly deaf and blind. After taking him to the vet and having his teeth cleaned, a growth removed from his head and a back x-ray done, we found out he had spondylosis . He wants nothing more in life than a quiet place to spend his last years being loved and giving love." Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Pete: "Meet Stella, the 12-year-old, one-eyed wonder Chihuahua! The little head tilt gives this tough girl a bit of deserved attitude."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Pete: "A little ear-knicked Dachshund, Buddy, of Buddy Belts fame who sadly passed away shortly after his portrait was taken. I'm sitting here with his parents, Johnny and Roxanne, who I thought could say a little something about him.
"Buddy, our tiny prince, reigned over his empire with four- inch legs and a soaring spirit. Truly a rock star persona that left his mark on many hearts. Dearly missed."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Pete: "Hey folks, meet Elmo, he's a 14-year-old pitbull and the first old doggie I shot for the Old Faithful photo project. He's straight up smiling for his portrait!"Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulFrom Pete: "Say hi to Weezee! Although this 10-year-old pug mix looks a little concerned about having her photo taken, she was very well behaved and one of the easiest to photograph!"Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulPete says, "Look, it's Spud the Pug!" (Hi, Spud!)Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"I shot Clovis shortly after his 14th birthday, and sadly he passed away not too long after this portrait was taken."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"Meet Little Buddy, another 14-year-old Chihauhua old doggie from the SAINTS rescue in Mission BC, who is looking for a forever home. His owner passed away, and he was taken to animal control and surrendered. Big little man syndrome, lots of attitude, but mostly hot air. Loves to try to be the boss of everyone, but really just wants to cuddle."Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old Faithful"Happy Halloween from Spud [the Pug] and the rest of the Old Faithful Photo Project!"Photo credit: Pete Thorne
Old FaithfulBenjamin, the dog that found Jesus.
"In Venezuela, On New Year's, 2001, Jesus was having coffee with some friends. Angelo pointed out and asked: what's that? It was a tiny dog. It was dirty, skinny and scared. Jesus thought that Benjamin was mute, since it didn't bark at all. After trying to find the owner and placing posters all over, Jesus decided to adopt him. After taking the small dog to the vet, the doctor said, "He's in very bad shape. He was abused and mistreated. The best thing that has happened to it was being found by you. But let me be honest to you, he must be around 4 by now. Just take him home, give him love and food and he'll live a year or two. "Photo credit: Pete Thorne