This Photographer Captures The Emotional Final Moments Between Pets And Their Owners

Dr. Dani McVety holds up a paw print that she made of Asia’s paw shortly after she died. Ross Taylor

In a photography series known as "Last Moments", Ross Taylor captures the last special moments between pets and their owners.

Taylor is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, but he has also been a photojournalist for over two decades.

The purpose of these photos is to let owners going through this emotional process understand that they are not on their own and that their grief matters and deserves recognition. It does not matter that it relates to the loss of a pet.

Marquita Leibe cries near her dog, Daisy, minutes after she is put to sleep. With her is her husband, Donald (left). Shortly after, he stepped outside to compose himself, overwhelmed with grief. Ross Taylor

After getting direction from licensed veterinarians, he takes photos of these final moments, which demonstrate the special bond that exists between these people and their beloved pets.

Losing a pet can be very hurtful, and thousands of people go through this process, especially with the growing popularity of at-home euthanasia.

Taylor admits that taking on this challenge has been incredibly intense, and it has changed the way he sees someone going through the loss of their beloved pet. He also claims to have a newfound respect for veterinarians who have to do this on a daily basis.

Juliet Rubio as she lays by her dog, Dingo, moments before he’s euthanized. “I hate this, I hate this,” she said over and over again before the final injection. “He’s given me so much comfort.” As he started to die, she cried over him, saying over and over, “I love you. Soon, you’re going to be free again.” Ross Taylor

Typically, when this process is going down, the owners weep and agonize over their beloved pets, but then they go on to thank the veterinarians for showing so much compassion.

But during this deep moment, the pet owners go through incredible anguish, and they have to be comforted as they handle the fact that their pets are gone.

In fact, it was this emotional intensity that moved Taylor to consider the importance of documenting these moments to capture the compassion and the heartbreak that goes with them.

The experiences are heartbreaking for many.

Wendy Lehr starts to cry as she hugs her dog, Mimosa, one last time. Her husband, Rich (right), tries to comfort them. Ross Taylor

He says that he was moved to start this peculiar photography journey after the intensely emotional experience a friend went through when she got her dog euthanized at home. She was averse to the idea of putting the pet through the stressful journey to the clinic and thought that home-based euthanasia would be much better. That ended being her hardest year, and this made Taylor realize how hard losing a pet really is.

“I don’t feel so good right now,” said Jennifer Hoch (right), as she kisses Shadow, her cat, goodbye. Shadow was dying of cancer, and Hoch was clearly in a bit of shock. I felt so much sadness for her, as well as her friend, Ruby Nelms (left). Nelms said, “I wouldn’t let her go through this alone.” As Shadow died, some of Hoch’s final words to her were, “You’re my angel.” Ross Taylor

Soon, he reached out to several organizations and his work began after a favorable response from one of them, Lap of Love, which is based in Tampa, Florida. He soon started working with another organization. Of course, all this also took the cooperation of the families going through these experiences.

So far, the response to his work has been overwhelming, All these people have something in common, and they are going through something intense and powerful they believe is worth sharing.

Ally, shortly before she died, looks up at Dr. Erica Unz, who comforts the family in the difficult moment. Vanessa Gangadyal (center) fights back tears and rests against her husband, Michael. Ross Taylor

In fact, many people have reached out, sharing their experiences. And this is not an unfamiliar experience, millions of people have been through it, and they have a very clear understanding of how deep and profound it can be to lose a beloved pet forever. These people share a special bond, and everyone needs to be more empathetic toward them.

After everything this project has revealed, his hope is that no one will tell someone going through the loss of a pet that it was just a dog or a cat. The pain these people go through is real, and we should all be more understanding.