...saying goodbye is the hardest thing you'll ever have to do.
These special, end-of-life sessions are just for terminally ill or elderly pets. Your best friend can live on through keepsakes you can see and touch and talk to.
Every touch of their fur, every toss of the ball, every lick on your cheek can be remembered and relived through beautiful photographs. So many people tell me their Joy Session was invaluable in working through the grief process.
The session itself is a special day to look forward to, an opportunity to step away from “real life” for a bit and spend some one-on-one time together. You’d be amazed at how many otherwise tired and despondent dogs rally for their Joy Sessions! It’s like they know how important it is to their people.
We had so much fun and it was such a special experience to share with Buddy. Sarah was kind, patient, and accommodated Buddy's needs and limitations during the shoot.
I am terribly sad without him, but looking at the beautiful photos has brought me some comfort during my grief. I am so glad that I have them.
~ Sarah T.
Sarah is not only a talented photographer, but also a caring soul. In a time-sensitive situation, where other photographers could only offer bookings weeks out, her understanding and willingness to accommodate us was astounding. It speaks volumes about her commitment to her clients and her desire to make a difference through her work.
~ Bailey W.
I absolutely LOVE the pictures and I'm so grateful you were able to capture Rafe's beauty in his last days. You're so talented and really have a special connection with dogs. And thank you for being so kind to me while I was distressed. You are definitely the dog whisperer!
~ Jayne G.
Thank you, Sarah Beth, for being so gracious, kind, and understanding. The photos mean the world to me, but even more so your empathy for this momma's very raw emotions is something I will always treasure. A lot has happened in 36 hours, and I'm so glad for this beautiful gift.
~ Lisa B.
Today we lost Pippi to cancer and we began looking at the two wonderful photoshoots that you did of her at our house and in your studio. You have an incredible talent and we are blessed to have these photos to look back on and remember when Pippi was healthy and full of life.
~ Kathryn R.
Thank you so much for the touching and beautiful photos you took of Seamus. We're so glad we did it before he became more frail over the last 6 months. Sadly, we lost Seamus to a stroke on Easter Sunday.
The photo book is my most prized possession. It really is a gift filled with memories that will last our lifetimes. Definitely one of our best decisions.
~ Debbie F.
I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the photos you captured of Boris last spring. It was so nice not having to worry about getting pictures in these last weeks and letting him just relax and have all the treats and fireplace time he wanted. Those pictures helped me reflect on the quality of life he had at that point in time and see the decline he had taken. It helped me feel more at peace with our decision.
~ Rebecca B.
Not everyone in your life might get the full gravity of what you're going through, but you can take comfort in knowing that I do.
I'm certified in Grief Companioning from the Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, and completed the Certificate of Counselor Training from the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement. I lost my own heart dog, Gracie, in the fall of 2019, and my best buddy cat, Simon, that same spring. I grew up on a farm where the circle of life was ever present, and I've said goodbye to countless furry, feathered, and scaled friends throughout the years.
In a Joy Session with me, you won't feel rushed or out of place. I've been honored to provide a safe space for nearly a thousand pet owners facing the same devastating end to their journey, and I'll always have time to sit and talk with you about your experience. If you need to cry, please go ahead and cry. I'll respectfully wait to take more pictures so you can be present in that moment.
Joy Sessions® aren’t necessarily meant to capture the very last moments with your pet, but rather to celebrate your life together before that time comes. (Some of my Joy Session® clients have lived for a year or more after the photos were taken!)
Of course, circumstances don’t always allow us the luxury of time, and I’m happy to work with you wherever you are in your journey. (Some of my Joy Session® clients have passed within hours of our session.)
I do my best to fit these in as soon as they’re needed, but if possible, I really recommend planning ahead. With more time, we’re often able to capture your pet while he’s still feeling and looking well, capturing happier memories and images you’ll treasure. And, we can schedule around the weather, helping create your best possible session.
With an ailing pet, I know there can be significant expenses related to their care, so I’m happy to work with you on payment plans, and I archive all images so they’re available whenever you’re ready to make selections.
It can be difficult to admit when the end is growing near, but please don’t let fear or superstition prevent you from photographing joyful memories with your best friend.
To find an end-of-life pet photographer in another location for friends or family members, visit the Pet Memorial Photographers Network
Join our small-but-mighty pet loss grief support group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/petlossjourney/
Read more about my experience with grief on the blog: https://sarahbethphotography.com/2022/09/15/grief-and-the-value-of-end-of-life-pet-photography/