by Inigo del Castillo in New Photography on Friday 22 November 2013

Before reading this, a warning: Lots of feeling ahead. Prepare tissue. Joy Sessions are both heart-warming and heart-breaking portraits of terminally ill or elderly pets with their owners (read: family). Usually, these pets pass away soon after the photos are taken. Minneapolis-based pet photographer Sarah Beth recalls the inspiration behind Joy Sessions.

Joy was a black Labrador and was a service dog to Joan, who was living in hospice care. Joy would be her constant companion and best friend throughout her trying time. ‘She (Joy) would let Joan know when her blood sugar was low, and if she was about to have a seizure. Joy would place herself under Joan to break her fall, stand firm to help her up, and was by her side day and night,’ Beth says.

She continues: ‘We sat and chatted for a long time. Joan’s zest for life, even with her declining health, was a breath of fresh air for me, and helped me see that what I do is meaningful and important in so many ways’. Beth eventually thought of offering photo sessions for pets that are nearing the end of their lives. ‘For so many people, their pets mean the world to them, and I want to provide an opportunity to capture what makes them so special, especially in such a difficult time’.

Sniff-sniff. Can someone pass me the tissue box? What, so you mean I used it all up?!

Via My Modern Met