Dog Years: Faithful Friends Then & Now

Photographer Amanda Jones shows us the beauty of aging through our love for dogs

By Leslie Phelan

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Aging: the one thing no one can escape, including our beloved pets, whose life loops are so much smaller than our own. The difference is, while we tend to stress out about the ages as they come, dogs do it oh so gracefully, surrendering their youth and wearing their years like badges of white-whiskered wisdom.

Looking for a heartwarming coffee table book? In her book, DOG YEARS: FAITHFUL FRIENDS, THEN & NOW, photographer Amanda Jones takes a look at the lives and stories of 30 dogs. Presenting each one in side-by-side, then-and-now portraiture, Jones beautifully captures the unique personality each dog possesses through every stage of their lives – that spark that remains true while everything else about them changes with age. It’s a sweet tribute to the buddies we’ve all had, loved, and watched grow old.

We drool over them when they are soft and small during that most precious period of puppyhood, and then grow to love them even more as maturity makes itself known in the cataracts, brittle bones, and mellowed-out dispositions that become evidence of a dog’s time on earth. And yet we shudder at our own age milestones instead of embracing them and being proud of the journeys we are on, even if we’re not exactly in the places we thought we’d be by now.

We take our wrinkles as a mark of the beginning of our ending, and view our white hairs as shameful evidence of our descent into seniorhood, all while looking lovingly upon our pets as they blossom naturally into old age. They are cuter to us as they grow slower, blinder, and more toothless – we give them total permission to grow old, while we try to stop time and fight the good fight.

But maybe we can give ourselves a break and a bit of permission, too. After all, the more time our pets spend with us, the more they must, in return, grow to adore our weathering faces too, right? It only seems fair to think that the slower and further past our primes we get, the cuter and dearer we must appear to our animal companions who watch over us and reflect our lives back at us with love and acceptance. Wouldn’t this be a divine way to regard our own aging processes?

Buy this wonderful coffee table book here.

(Editor’s note) Lily, the Dachshund pictured below was the author’s beloved dog. She passed away during the making of this book and we are thankful for the wonderful work she inspired.