It is well known that dogs and cats or any other pets can be the best companions in our lives. In many homes, our furry friends have become a part of family, loved and doted on as much as their human relatives.
Photographer Sara Beth Earnhart of Minneapolis has devoted years to her project within which any pet owner can have a final photo shoot with his/her furry friend before parting forever.
"For many owners, their pets are the whole world for them," Earnhart says. "And I wanted to give them a chance to capture the last moments of their life."
"These photo shoots are for the people who want to pay tribute to the moments of happiness that their pets have brought into their lives."
"I love photographing the intimacy and physical contact between owners and their pets."
"Many people don't like to be photographed, so I try to take photos in which they will be captured indirectly."
"These animals had to be put to sleep because they were already old or terminally ill."
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"This photo was one of the most touching. This greyhound named Christine had bone cancer, but looking at her, no one would say that. She was so active, jumping all the time and trying to lick me. We took pictures in their backyard on a beautiful September evening. The next morning, I got a call that Christine was gone. I couldn't believe that this lively and fun-loving dog had passed away in just 12 hours. A little more and our photo shoot would have been too late."
"Often when I see the owners after the photo shoot, their animals are no longer alive, and these pictures are all that's left of them."
"It’s a very sensitive time for these people who have been with these animals for their entire lives. I definitely have cried with some of the owners."
"Many come for pictures much later than expected, simply because they are unable to put up with the prospect of loss and haven't been ready yet to look at their deceased pets again."
"No one has ever regretted a farewell photo shoot."
"It's good if the pet still looks and feels good, but I've had moments where I've had to shoot an already dying dog, and it wasn't easy."
"I try to give owners the best photos that will remind them of the best moments they had with their pets."
"I hope other people will see and feel the love acptured in these photos."
"I try to capture special memories, their expressions, how they played, how they licked you, how their fur felt on your hands."
"Many people write me to tell me how moved they were by my photos, even though they had never seen them before."
"I think looking at a beautiful photo of someone who loves their pet purely and frankly, seeing that connection through touch, smiles, looks, I think it reminds us of who we are."
"Caring pet owners will understand the joy that dogs have brought into these people's lives, but most of all they will understand the bitterness of parting with them."
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