I'm going to start off by saying this topic is one that, as a dog mom myself, I hate talking about. However, as a pet photographer (and as a dog mom, too), it's also important to talk about. I'd love to think that my pups are going to live forever, but the sad reality is that I'll actually only get 12-15 years with them if I'm lucky. If I'm unlucky, that time may even be cut short by disease or a tragic accident. Which is why it's so important to discuss end of life photography sessions, or Remembrance Sessions, as I fondly call them.
what is a remembrance session?
Remembrance Sessions are intended for senior pets and pets who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and only have a short time left to spend with you. During your Remembrance Session, you and your pet get the full Kylee Doyle Photography experience, from a personalized consultation to plan out your session all the way through to an ordering appointment in your home to help you select and design your artwork, with the added benefit of VIP scheduling. This means that I'll get you booked in for your consultation and session ASAP, even if my calendar is already fully booked.
These sessions take place at your pet's pace in a location where they're comfortable. For some pets that's at their favorite park or spot along with the river, while for others it may be the comfort of their own home or backyard. We'll spend as much time as needed making sure they're comfortable so that we can capture their personality and spirit. I'll focus on a combination of posed images and candids, as well as photos with you so that you can look back on the special bond you shared with your furbaby.
how to prepare for a remembrance session
First off, know that your time with me is completely judgment-free. We all experience grief differently. I've lost pets so I know the pain you're feeling. I'll bring tissues and lots of love with me to your session. If you need to cry, just know that I'll probably be crying right alongside you. When you look back at the images we capture during this session I want you to not only remember the love you still carry for your pet, but also the fun memories we made that day.
Your session will start with a consultation to help you plan out the session. If you know your pet's time is extremely limited, we may do this over the phone, through Zoom, or even in person immediately prior to the session. This time is your opportunity to share with me all of the things you love about your furbaby. We'll discuss the types of images you want to create and how you might want to display your artwork after the session. If we haven't already picked out a location for your session we'll talk about your pet's favorite places and where they'll be most comfortable. I'll give you all the tips you'll need for your session - from what to bring with you to how to dress yourself and your pet.
Most importantly, when preparing for a Remembrance Session, bring grace and some self-love. Losing a pet is devastating. Don't be hard on yourself and don't feel guilty over your emotions. Take the final moments you have with your pet to remind them how much you love them.
resources for pet loss and grief
Losing a beloved pet is never easy. Below I've put together some of my favorite resources to help you or someone you may know going through the grieving process.
Honoring Our Animals - Grief counseling and support before, during, and after the loss of a beloved pet.
Lap of Love - A network of veterinarians who offer veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia.
Rainbow Bridge Connection Podcast - A podcast for anyone who has ever lost a companion animal.
Grief Pets - Includes a stuffed animal with a place to put a photo, a grief journal, and a warming comfort packet.
Perfect Memorials - Pet cremation jewelry.
ALL AROUND THE CIRCLE
Don't forget to continue following the blog circle to read what other pet photographers have to say about End of Life sessions. Up next Toronto pet photographer Terri Jankelow of Terri J Photography discusses what happens at an end of life photography session for your dog.