Aging In America: Dog Edition

Photographer Nancy LeVine traveled across the country to photograph for a series called "Senior Dogs Across America." The results are both touching and adorable — these dogs are just brimming with canine wisdom. Take Picasso (above), a happy South Carolina resident, who's reached the ripe age of 17.

LeVine details her inspiration for her project at Lens Culture:

My interest in the world of the senior dog began as my own two dogs began to approach the end of their days. This was at a time when I had lived enough years to start imagining my own mortality. I entered a world of grace where bodies that had once expressed their vibrancy were now on a more fragile path.

I saw how the dog does it; how, without the human's painful ability to project ahead and fear the inevitable, the dog simply wakes to each day as a new step in the journey. Though their steps might be more stiff and arduous, these dogs still moved through each day as themselves — themselves of that day and all the days before.

As mortality was weaving its way through this project, so was another American thread. The media were consumed with reports about our country's sharp political fractures. It was all about the Red/Blue conflicts and the strident voices leading the charge.

Yet, what I witnessed in my travels was something quite different. It was people caring for the most vulnerable dogs. Whether the senior dog was part of a family where the dog/person devotion knew no bounds or one of the elders being tended at an animal sanctuary, I saw something much deeper than our divisions, something important about where we live and the best way to die.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Jake — 16 years old, from Higgins, Texas.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Breebee and Nuny — 21 and 19 years old, from Ralston, Wyoming

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Gussy Sue — 15 years old, from Laurel, Montana.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Champ — 9 years old, from Butte County, South Dakota.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Suzy — 10 years old, from Natches, Mississippi.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Ginger — 12 years old, from Devil's Tower, Wyoming.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Poopie — 14 years old, from New York City, New York.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Joey — 9 1/2 years old, from Hawthorne, New Jersey.

Aging In America: Dog Edition

Amy — 18 years old, from Charlotte, North Carolina.