Project Unconditional is photographer Jane Sobel Klonsky's tribute to the love we share with our older dogs, whether they are working dogs, service dogs, or just faithful companions. Some of the bonds she documents are more than a decade in the making, others newly formed. Included in her series are photographs of dozens of formerly homeless senior dogs and their adopters or foster caretakers. The poignant joy of these photos is an important reminder that the work Grey Muzzle grantees do on behalf of abandoned and homeless dogs creates stories of dogs that find care, a home, and someone who loves them unconditionally.
We have previously published photos from Jane Sobel Klonsky's shoots with Grey Muzzle grantees Lionel's Legacy and Blind Dog Rescue Alliance. In late April, she traveled to Northern California and photographed dogs and people from three more Grey Muzzle grantees: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Thulani Program, and Peace of MInd Dog Rescue.
For Project Unconditional, Klonsky has asked each of her subjects to submit stories about their dogs, which will be published along with her photos in a forthcoming book. She told us in an interview, "They are all unique people, with unique dogs, and unique stories. Even when the story seems as though it is similar to another, there's a twist or a nuance that I'd never imagined." For this post, Jane Sobel Klonsky has shared with us photos from each of the Grey Muzzle grantees she recently visited.
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
Tommy & Jessica - Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
Jessica met Tommy by chance. She had been looking for a Golden Retriever to adopt when saw him out walking with a Muttville volunteer. It was love at first sight. Jessica says, "Tommy is a total love bug- he always has a smile on his face and he is a love seeking missile when he is at the dog park--he goes up to his human target and sits there to get petted. He paws his target so he/she will keep on petting him, until Tommy decides to move on to his next target. Because of him I know everyone in my neighborhood....He has taught me so much about happiness- happiness is about who you are with right now, it is about sticking your head and tongue out of the car window and feeling the wind, it is about roughhousing and sitting on his BFF, it is about being present and the little things in life. He makes me laugh all the time and I cannot imagine my life without him."
Coco Pudding & Brian - Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
The Thulani Program was founded by Robert Jachens of German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California as a special program for dogs considered to be too old or sick to be good candidates for adoption. Named in honor of a rescued German Shepherd with a heart defect, it was the willingness of Thulani's fosters to care for a dog that did not have long to live that convinced Jachens that such a program was possible. He explains, "At that moment, I realized that there are special people who are not only selfless but emotionally strong enough to provide a home for a terminally ill dog, knowing full well that heartbreak would soon follow.
Morrie & Vicky - Thulani Program
Morrie is a big, handsome German Shepherd who does a dance when he's happy, and wakes up his adopter, Vicky, by dragging the blankets off her bed. He's been transformed from the day he came to Vicky through the Thulani Program, sick, emaciated, and scared. Vicky writes, "People said that I was setting myself up by taking on a senior dog, that it would be heartbreaking in the end, but I see the good in it. He is living a real life with all the comfort, love and attention he could ever want. I saw the sadness and hopelessness in his eyes when he came to me. Now his eyes are clear and bright. Morrie is my friend. He is happy and I am too."
Misha & Paula - Thulani Program
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue (POMDR) finds loving homes for dogs whose guardians can no longer care for them and for senior dogs in shelters. A grant from Grey Muzzle helps POMDR with veterinary care for homeless senior dogs and for a program to keep dogs with their guardians. During her most recent trip to Northern California, Jane Sobel Klonsky visited POMDR in Pacific Grove, CA, and photographed Carie Broecker, their executive director and co-founder, with her own adopted dogs Savannah (Savvy) and Lucy.
Savvy, Lucy, & Carie - Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
You can find more of Jane Sobel Klonsky's photographs on her website and Facebook page. Unconditional Stories, videos by filmmaker Kacey Klonsky of some of the subjects of Project Unconditional photo shoots, can be viewed here.
For information about all of the wonderful organizations that Grey Muzzle supports, see Who We Help.
The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide.