It’s not easy to see a loved one grow older.
“I don’t know if she will come here another day, another year,” said Mary Beth Thompson.
Thompson’s 12-year-old dog Len is her last day.
“It’s so sweet and she’s funny. That’s how she was chasing me,” Thompson said.
Len is a survivor of cancer and she has lost some mobility on her hind legs.
“Oh, when did she get old? We love her until she doesn’t want to be here anymore,” Thompson said.
The family invited Lauren Smith Kennedy to help them create a special memory for Ren.
“Photographs of expired pets sound exactly like that: they’re either shooting older animals at the end of their lives, or companion animals with end-stage illnesses,” he said. Kennedy says.
In early 2021, Lauren proposed to take a used photo of an acquaintance’s pet and posted the finished product online.
“I posted it on my social media, my personal page, and it just exploded, and I found out that there was a very high demand for it,” Kennedy said. rice field.
Kennedy says people have offered to fly her nationwide for these sessions with pets. She simply couldn’t keep up. So she made something new.
“How can I create resources for my pet owner, which makes it one of the central lists that pet owners can go to see. That was when the Tilly project started. It was the end of life. It is an organization dedicated to becoming a network for not only photographers but also clients seeking to gather those services and find each other. “
According to Kennedy, the website currently has more than 500 photographers nationwide. She named the project after one of the dead cats.
“I’m still on a journey with my own sorrow and the loss I had, and I think this allows me to respect these connections, friendships and love. That’s what I do. That’s why I named it the Tilly Project. It feels like a great way to honor her, “she said.
Michelle Crosley, who works for Pet Loss and the Bereavement Association, an advocacy and resource group for people dealing with pet loss, says people need to grieve properly.
“One of the biggest things is that individuals can talk about it. It’s a healing property,” Crossley said. “Join the chat room and pay some respect to the lost companion animal, but you can talk about it from the beginning.”
It’s not easy for Thompsons to say goodbye to Ren. But when the time comes, Thompson will know it.
“We talked, and I looked her eyes right, and I said you would tell me when it was time,” Thompson said.
Kennedy wants her and other photographers to be there before time to capture the love between pets and people.