Stella, a Leonberger, came to the DIGNITY project on senior dogs when we put out some feelers for pairing some young puppies and seniors of the same breed for photos. 

Though a seemingly simple undertaking, such shoots have layers of complexity that need to be addressed. You don’t just pair two unknown dogs together, let alone young puppies with seniors, and start shooting.

We needed a breeder (and/or owner) who was a known entity with a solid reputation. As for the puppies, they needed to be old enough to be safely “out and about”,  but not too old, and they needed to be well socialized for their age.  The set of a photo shoot can be a weird and wonderful place.

Crucially, any senior models also had to be well socialized and KNOWN to be puppy friendly (not all are) and ideally, familiar with the pup(s) in question.

As luck would have it we (Rob here) had just acquired a Leonberger puppy, Izzie from well-known ‘Leo’ breeder, Wanderweg Kennels and knew Stella (it’s kind of hard not to).  

A couple of discussions later and Fran Cozens, the owner of Wanderweg (and ElderDog fan) was walking on set with Stella and Pixie, one of Izzie’s litter-mates.

Like most giant breed dogs, at 9 years of age Stella is well into her senior years.  That being said, like all of our DIGNITY models, she isn’t letting her age slow her down an iota.  

Having owned two Leonbergers (as well as Irish Wolfhounds), we (Rob again) can attest to their friendliness and outgoing nature – and Stella is no exception. 

Any visit to Wanderweg involves getting mobbed by at least 600lbs of Leonberger, all female, with Stella at the head of the line. 

In addition to being the resident door-greater at Wanderweg, she’s apparently the self-nominated Warden of the Squirrels (who she likes to ‘converse’ with) on the property.

Unfortunately her age won’t let her exploit her favourite sleeping spot as a youngster any longer – atop Fran’s kitchen table. Knowing the breed, it doesn’t surprise me.

Located in the Fall River area, Wanderweg is a small hobby kennel that has been nurturing Leonbergers for the last decade with a stellar reputation for well–adjusted and exceptionally well socialized puppies.

For more information on the DIGNITY project or how you feel you may be able to join the project’s list of partners, please contact either myself or ElderDog at any time.


Ardra & Rob