Saying goodbye to a beloved pet can be incredibly painful .
So one woman from the US has started a hobby to help owners through the bittersweet final moments.Lauren Smith Kennedy, from Maine, provides end of life pet photography, so owners can capture their four-legged friends before they are put down – often due to illness.
The 28-year-old also offers this service completely free of charge.Owners decide on a date and location to meet Lauren and then work together getting the pictures they want.
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Lauren adds that she usually prompts people, rather than asking them to do specific poses.
‘So I’ll say something like, “why don’t you sit down and give your pet some love,” instead of saying to cuddle or pat them or whatever,’ she explains.
‘That way they can do whatever that feels like to them.’
Lauren offers either black and white or colour pictures – depending on what specific clients want.
She then shares the photos on social media – with an owner’s permission – before the pet passes on.
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The photographer adds: ‘Every shoot I’ve done has been so special, they’re all so loving and caring.‘One that really stands out was with a dog named Baxter, who had a degenerative disease.
‘We did the shoot, and his owner had got a wagon to move him around, and that really stood out to me.
‘It seemed like a symbol of how far an owner will go to help their animal and how dedicated they are.’
Since sharing her work on social media, Lauren is now inundated with requests for shoots.
She continues: ‘Because of TikTok and other social media, it’s a great platform to tell stories.
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‘I always check if people are happy for me to post their pictures, and they usually are, they see it as a way to honour their pet.
‘I think the shoots really resonate with people because they understand the sense of grief.
‘Now, I get hundreds of messages in a week asking me to shoot, although obviously I can’t do them all.’Due to how popular her service is, Lauren has now launched the Tilly Project – a network of photographers all over the world, who offer free end of life pet photography.
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She adds: ‘I started the Tilly Project to help connect people with photographers local to them who would do these shoots as well.
‘I was getting people offering to fly me across the country to do a shoot, and I wasn’t able to do that.
‘It’s so amazing to have been able to start something like this.’
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