The DIGNITY Project – Rambo and An Instant Bond

Started in April 2014, the DIGNITY project photographed some 60 senior dogs across Nova Scotia to help raise awareness of the challenges facing elderly canines, their (often) senior owners and to aid ElderDog Canada.  

With photography complete, the design of materials using the images is underway – including the upcoming 2017 DIGNITY Calendar to benefit ElderDog.

Our 25th release from the project is Rambo, a very dignified and special 11 year old Husky mix.  

Throughout Rambo's life he and his owner Max were inseparable companions. Stalwart friends at home, during long walks in the woods and on car rides, where Max went, so did Rambo. 

Unfortunately, as Max became ill, he’d remarked to his daughter, Sheila (who could not take Rambo), that he was worried (if Rambo should out live him) that, “No one would want an old, large dog like Rambo” (to paraphrase Sheila). 

While Max’s condition tragically never improved, upon his passing his fears for Rambo were unfounded. Within days of entering the ElderDog network, Rambo found a loving home with Joan, who’d just recently lost her own 16 year old Husky. 

During his shoot at The Shannex Parkland retirement facility in Clayton Park, Rambo was 100% Husky – full of life, fun and just a bit of defiance. He even let out the odd howl to let the world know he was ready for the respect he was due.

As for the “instant bond” mentioned in the title, it’s best left explained by Rob:

“Every once in awhile on an animal shoot, you make an instant and emotional connection to your model that stands out from the norm. A connection, often for reasons unknown, that as the photographer, rocks your back a bit. Such as the case with me and Rambo. 

The moment I started shooting, Rambo and I hit it off like old friends. His regal and almost defiant demeanour hit a cord with me. If he hadn’t already had a loving home, he’d have been coming home with us. His shoot will stay with me.”

To quote Ardra:

“Rambo made an immediate connection with Rob. Our favourite outtakes are of Rambo literally eating out of Rob’s hand and snuggling so close to him that he almost turned himself inside out in attempts to get closer. There was clearly something very special going on between them.”  

Rambo’s joyous and loving personality took over the set that afternoon and he was an instant hit with Shannex residents who spent time with the team on set that day. 

We’d like to thank all those businesses and individuals who’ve supported the project over the last two years–and those we know are, or will, do so in its next stages.  

Please contact ElderDog Canada or Robert MacLellan if you or your organization would like to assist.