Max – The DIGNITY Project

In April of 2014, ElderDog Canada and fine art photographer, Robert MacLellan, launched a photo project known as DIGNITY.  Since then we've photographed 40 adorable senior canines over 6 shoots at 5 donated locations – and counting.

Above we have Max, a 14 year old Golden Retriever, the 9th image released from the project and, unfortunately, one done under very sad circumstances.  

Photographed in late June on the South Shore, Max passed away peacefully late last week – as this release was being prepared.  He is tragically the fourth of our models to pass since their photoshoot.

Max’s start in life was one marked by abuse – spending a good part of the first year of his life tied to a tree. Rescued by an ordinary passerby who’d had enough watching Max’s daily torment, Max found his way to a loving family with whom he spent the remainder of his 14 years. 

Once secured in a caring home, Max decided that he was not about to leave any time soon – Mother Nature and medical opinion be damned.

Enduring years of serious life-threatening issues, Max’s ‘nom de querre’ within veterinary circles became the “Miracle Golden” as, over and over again, he thumbed his snout at health odds with amazing stubbornness.  

As one of his companions, Christine, says: “Through all his health issues he showed courage and fortitude. When we were told [time and again] that it was time to say goodbye, neither Max nor we were ready.”   Late last week, Max decided it was time. 

One of the benefits of a project like this is the privilege of spending time with so many remarkable senior dogs like Max on our various donated sets. 

As Christine indicated, Max was truly a remarkable presence. He strolled onto the set, promptly let us know he’d being doing his session lying down, thank you, and then took to the camera like a pro.  And from experience, we know not to argue with talent. 

It’s safe to say that Max, like so many of our models, stepped up to this role and then some in the last months of his life. 

We thank Max and all the other models for being part of this important project. Through fine art photography of these beloved and fortunate senior dogs, we focus on their inherent grace and dignity and not the visual effects of the aging process to contrive sympathy. Our hope is to send a strong, visual message about the vitality of senior canines and the importance of our role in preserving their health and well-being.

Please join us in also thanking all those organizations that have helped make this project possible through their logistical support.


Ardra and Rob