As mentioned in an earlier post, in April of 2014 ElderDog Canada and photographer, Robert MacLellan launched a photo project called DIGNITY.  Since then we've photographed some 24 adorable senior canines over four locations in N.S. – and that number continues to grow.

Sadly, two of our models, Martin and Venus, have passed away since their photo sessions. As a result, we decided to select an image from each of their shoots as the first pictures released from the project. The image of Venus, the first to pass, was released August 7th.

This decision was made not only to honour their memories and illustrate what the project is doing, but also to stress the importance of capturing those memories before it’s too late – regardless of how it is done or by whom.

Martin, a 16 yr. old Jack Russell, was Daniel’s constant companion for the entirety of his life.   

Photographed in late July at Vetcetera Animal Hospital, Martin joined the DIGNITY project when Daniel learned of it via social media – and their impact on the project has been felt by all involved.

What became very apparent from what Daniel and (via Daniel) his nephew Justin passed on to us since Martin’s death, was that Martin was not only an integral part of Daniel’s life, but also of everyone in his extended family and circle of friends.  

Vacations, weekends, holidays, it didn’t matter – where there was Daniel, there was Martin and vice versa.  

When Daniel drove to their favourite spot at the family’s cottage (where Martin passed away), Martin played co-pilot in Daniel’s lap.  When Daniel left the rat race to become a full time abstract artist, Martin would sit and watch him create.  

As Daniel mentions, 16 well-lived yrs. don’t come without a price. That said, while the trials and tribulations of time were visually apparent during Martin’s shoot, what did strike everyone was how puppy-like he looked in his portraits – and how young he acted. 

Whenever he had a break, Martin was off like a rocket exploring every corner and gear case (which smell like everything from ferrets to horses). None of sixteen years of wear and tear, poor eyesight and, shall we say, less than ideal hearing, was going to cramp his style.

This photo, carefully selected from among many, encapsulates the theme of the project. When we look at this photo of Martin, we see DIGNITY – and that canine drive for life that Martin so illustrated during his shoot. 

Thanks very much for reading this and viewing the images of Martin and Venus, and our sincere condolences to all those feeling the loss of both of these cherished companions.

Also, please join us in thanking all those organizations who have come forward to help make this project possible.


Ardra and Rob