Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows how heart-breaking it can be to say good-bye.
I clearly remember the day when I was 13, and we put down our German Shepard, Samantha. My mother got her when I was two years old, so Samantha had been in my life for as long as I could remember.
I do not exaggerate when I say we lost a member of the family that autumn day.
Minneapolis-based photographer Sarah Ernhart starting offering photo sessions in 2006 where pet owners pose with their terminally ill pets for a final hug or cuddle before they are put to sleep.
Ms. Ernhart named these sessions “The Joy Sessions” and since 2006, her business has grown steadily.
As she explains on her website, “Whether you’ve spent a short time or a lifetime with your pet, saying goodbye is the hardest thing you’ll have to do.”
In an interview with Britain’s The Daily Mail, she admits that that sessions are very emotional. However she also notes that, ” [t]he sessions can be happy at the same time because the owners get to talk about their favorite little quirks and things that they like about their pets. I get this inside view of what these people’s lives are like. It’s a pretty powerful.”
To see just how powerful and beautiful these sessions can be, check out Ernhart’s work here.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise