Here’s what my clients don’t know.
It’s all I can do during an end of life dog photography session to not bawl my eyes out. My clients, in fact, are often better at it than I am.
They smile and snuggle and scritch and cuddle and do all the wonderful things I need them to do to find The Magic Moment.
They are brave and protective and loving.
These special goodbye moments
When pet parents come to me for an end of life dog photography session, their hearts are often heavy. The time they have with their best fur friends are coming to a close and they must face unbearable days without them.
The missing tick-tick-tick of too long nails on the hardwood floor.
The toys scattered in the corner with no one to chew them.
The empty house.
It’s awful. It’s a road I’ve traveled and will travel again.
So it is more than an honor and privilege for me to share these special moments with pet owners throughout Spokane and North Idaho.
It is a responsibility I bear.
I don’t take lightly the opportunity to be one of the last people to share time with you and your dog. And I will move mountains to get you on my schedule, part-time job be damned.
They can live without me for a shift if it means a pet guardian gets to sit in a perfect sunset with her best fur friend while my camera records the moment.
The Big White Dog difference for end of life dog photography
There’s more to a photography business than showing up at a park with a camera.
There’s a critical step many of us take: the consultation. It’s a time — maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour, depending on how chatty we get — when we get to know each other.
I take the time to understand a little about you and your dog, the journey you’ve shared together these last many years, the bond you’ve formed, and the places and times that have made you happiest.
On hearing these stories, I can custom design your photo shoot to make sure we best celebrate and honor the life of your dog and the love you share.
And not only do you book a photographer who dedicates her day to you but you also find someone who is trained to support you in these moments. I am a certified grief coach under Cathy Cheshire and I’ve expanded my learning to specialize in pet loss grief, especially anticipatory grief.
Because that’s usually when you find me.
The time when you don’t really understand what you’re feeling because you have so many other things to do, like care for your dog as she’s slowing to her final steps or after you’re received a dreaded diagnosis from your vet.
The time when you’re stressed and sad and alone and … well … really fucking scared about the days that lie ahead.
I got you.
If you need to talk my ears are open and my shoulders strong. I’m going to ask you to tell me stories about your dog, stories about the good times, the happy times, the adventures and the road trips.
Because those memories, along with the ones that we’re creating on the day of your photo shoot, will bring you comfort in those days ahead.
And even after I’ve shown you your gallery, ordered your wall art or album and delivered them, if you need someone to talk to, I’m here.
Because it helps to have someone who understands what you’re going through.
Even if it’s just to listen to a few more stories.
All around the circle
Becoming a grief coach was part of the mission with One Last Network, a podcast I launched last weekend. We’ll be digging into topics around the support and services pet guardians need as their pets age and ultimately cross the Rainbow Bridge.
It launched on my memorial day, Aug. 20, the eighth anniversary of the day I lost Shep. The first episode is short and sweet, describing my heartache around his death, and what we want to achieve on the podcast.
You can listen on:
If you’re a pet photographer reading this and are interested in becoming a certified pet loss grief coach, please email me at email@example.com for more information. Or go to the For Photographers page on the website and sign up directly.
Grieving the loss of a pet isn’t easy and it’s vital for pet parents to know they aren’t alone. The world over recognizes this Sunday, August 28, as Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day.
It’s a time to honor the memories of the pets who changed our lives and made us feel less alone on our journeys on this giant rock hurdling through space.
The pet photography blog circle is focused on Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day this week. Head over to Atlanta pet photographer Courtney Bryson, who writes about what saying goodbye to 100 dogs has taught her about the Rainbow Bridge. From losing her first best friend as a child, remembered only through countless photos, to volunteering as a hospice foster home for the Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta, to founding a Boston Terrier rescue dedicated to special needs and medically fragile dogs, Courtney examines the gifts and lessons left behind.
When you get to the bottom of Courtney’s post, click the next link in the circle and then keep going until you find yourself back here my mission to bring comfort to pet parents through end of life dog photography.
That’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And if you are in need of an emergency dog photo shoot, call or text me now at 509-720-8784.
It’s good to know that you a certified grief coach, a resource that many people aren’t aware that is available for when they lose a pet, or even prior to losing an elderly pet. Thank you for helping us in these tough periods of our lives. You are EPIC.
I have to admit, I cried as I finished my last end-of-life session. I can usually hold it together, but this dog just did me in.
Thanks for all your doing with One Last Network. I have no doubt, it will be an incredible resource to those grieving the loss of their pet.
The end-of-life sessions are really difficult for me as well. I can’t even make it through the blogs this week. Had to take a break.
Self-care is vital. Definitely take a few breaks. And now I know to brace myself as I start reading.
Thank you—for all you do for pet parents and us as photographers. You are a gift to be shared.
Thank you for One Last Network and thank you for providing a memorable experience for pet owners during that difficult time before we say “good bye”. The “missing tick-tick-tick of too long nails on the hardwood floor” shatters me every day 🙁 They truly make the world a better place.
Beautifully said. Thank you for the One last network.
Angela – beautiful said and written. Thank you for sharing, at some time in the future I may join you with certified pet loss grief coach, but don’t think I am ready for it yet. I definitely am thankful for you setting up One Last Network – so many people need this type of resource.
Good luck with the network, end of life pet portraits can be an important part of the healing process.