The loss of a pet is one of the most traumatic life events we experience as pet owners. It's real. It's painful. And it leaves grief and all its raw attributes in its wake. Ross Taylor, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder is a photojournalist who knows how difficult that stark reality can be.
In his latest photo portfolio, Last Moments, Taylor focuses his camera on the loss of a beloved family pet up close and personal. Collaborating with licensed veterinarians, Taylor was allowed access to capture the emotional final moments between owners and their pets. The resulting photographic narrative is a sincere and respectful representation of the undeniable bonds between humans and their closest animal companions.
Last Moments is a guide to assist those going through this process to understand they're not alone, and that their grief should not be overlooked, nor minimized by anybody.
At-home pet euthanasia
At-home pet euthanasia is part of an emerging trend to receive end-of-life care in one's home, instead at the vet's office or clinic. Taylor's interest grew over time for both the home-care approach as well as those animals that died in offices. He began researching the topic and reached out to veterinarians and animal hospitals. The first one that responded was 'Lap of Love,' based in Tampa, Florida.
Taylor admits that his initiative could not have been done without the families allowing him to be present during these very critical moments. According to him, "the reason they allowed my presence has a lot to do with the fact that we all have a story to tell, and they are worth sharing."
Response has risen . . .
Since the word got out about his work, the number of people who have responded to the project has grown exponentially. Taylor has received stories and requests from all over. "The universality of the bond, and the pain when it’s broken, is something to which millions of people can relate. I’ve had some of the most touching emails and recollections of stories from people; it’s just incredible," notes Taylor
"I hope people will never say to someone after losing a pet, 'Oh it’s just a dog,' or, 'It’s just a cat. You can get another.' It’s crucial to recognize, and respect, the pain that comes along with this. I hope, in the end, it builds more empathy toward one another," added Taylor.
To review a collection of the photos and end-of-life narratives, Buzzfeed has published a good number of them here.
Primary Source: Buzzfeed