Contributed by: Sarah Beth Photography
When the toys have been put away, the collar hung up, and the leftover medications donated, what will you have to hold onto? Will the only tangible thing on your mind be the lingering vet bills?
Over time, our memories fade. But through photographs, we can relive moments and feelings! Remember how soft his ears were, or how his paws always smelled like chips? A photograph of nuzzling your face into his fur or getting a high-five brings you right back to that moment, and allows you to do it again and again, in your heart and mind.
Simply put, Joy Sessions celebrate the relationship with your pet through photographs.
Since its inception in early 2010, I've photographed well over 300 Joy Sessions. While sometimes they can be emotionally difficult, I haven’t met a single person who's regretted making the time and effort to be photographed with their beloved pets. But, I do hear all the time how people wish they'd have known about it sooner, or done sessions with past pets.
In 2012, I created joysession.com as a directory of photographers who offer end-of-life services to pet owners. To date, we've grown to over 460 members in 43 states and 20 countries. Earlier this year, I made the decision to expand the website into an even better resource for owners, to help empower them to make informed decisions about their pets' end-of-life care.
How does a Pet Hospice Network fit into the "Joy Session" theme?
While transitioning the pet photographer directory into a comprehensive network focused on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of ill and elderly pets (and their owners), I struggled with keeping the name. It wasn't just about photographs anymore, so was "Joy Session" still the right thing to call this?
Basically, a "session" can be defined as a period of time in which you're focused on a task at hand. For example, a photo session is the time to take pictures, and a school - or court - holds sessions for specific purposes or set amounts of time.
So, if we can imagine this final portion of our pets' lives as a time to focus on their changing needs, to appreciate the time we have left, to honor the happiness their presence in our lives has brought us, and to do the best we can for them, I think that's a perfect definition of a Joy Session!
Joy Sessions are are more than pictures now!
Joy Sessions are smiles, laughter, unconditional love, and lasting memories. They’re mirrors of a moment in time we never want to forget.
Joy Sessions are proof that you were here, and they were here. You mattered, and they mattered, and every moment spent together helped you grow into the person you are today.
Joy Sessions are for you, and for me, and for anyone who’s ever loved a pet.
Whether you’ve spent a short time or a lifetime with your pet, letting go is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.
Let us support you on their Joy Session journey by providing information, resources, and services to help:
- Explore the Resources area
- Read articles on the Blog
- Search for service providers near you
- Share your own stories to be featured on the blog
- Visit us on Facebook and Instagram for great articles and beautiful images
- Check out our Pinterest boards for recipes, ideas and inspiration
- Ask your local pet service providers to join the directory
- And don't forget to tell your friends and family about joysession.com!
*Joy Session® is a federally registered trademark of Sarah Beth Photography, LLC.