Written by: Jane Sobel Klonsky, Project Unconditional
[Editor’s Note: For a long time, we have been posting about Project Unconditional, focusing on the relationships between people and their senior dogs, by Vermont photographer Jane Sobel Klonsky.]
San Francisco, California—Evelyn never had a dog growing up, although she pleaded with her parents that she couldn’t live without one. Finally, Evelyn took the plunge, and Audrey came into her life. She was a senior Chiweenie who was abandoned, found as a stray, and ended up at a shelter where she was to be put down. A rescue pulled her and two other senior dogs moments before their termination. She was with the rescue for six months, during which time no one thought there was anything special about her.
Evelyn was so fortunate that they were all wrong. Everlyn and Audrey were meant for each other. In the first moments after the foster mom left, Evelyn lay a blanket on the ground and sat down near Audrey. Audrey leaped over Evelyn, wagged her tail furiously, and continued to prance. Once Evelyn got basic dog training down, she realized that Audrey needed much more mental stimulation. They began hiking with dog-hiking groups, and Audrey would lead the tired pack back to their cars, never showing any signs of exhaustion. She was the smallest and eldest in her agility class, but remarkably never fell behind and now can run courses of 10-18 obstacles, with absolute enthusiasm. She doesn’t follow blindly but evaluates, and then determines the most efficient path. When the pair enters class, all you hear is “Hi, Audrey, how are you?” and maybe one person will say “Oh, hi, Evelyn.”