Thank you to Karen Fuller of KCTV5 for featuring Going with Grace on their Faces of Kansas City feature. Read the full story and see the video here.
Please note that all dogs shown in the filming are available through adoption at KC PAWS in Kansas City. www.kcpaws.org
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – A pet is like a member of the family, but their life span isn’t equal to their owners, leaving people to face the loss.
That’s where a local professional photographer comes in, to capture the happier times to hold on to after the pets pass away.
Jennifer Starr knows her way around animals. She specializes in pet photography and volunteers her time at shelters, taking pictures of animals up for adoption. She got the idea after seeing amateur shots of adoptable animals that she knew could look more enticing.
“(I) saw a lot of pictures on Facebook of homeless pets that were shot quickly from a camera phone and thought, ‘What could really make a difference was a professional photo to truly bring out the personality and soul of each animal and help them get the recognition they deserve,'” Starr said.
Along the way, Starr decided to do more. She began a service called Going with Grace, where she captures images of a terminally ill or elderly pet before their time on Earth is gone.
“It’s difficult, but I try to focus on celebrating their life and not focusing on the despair. I just know at the end of it, those photos are going to be cherished memories for their owners,” she said.
Starr said owners are sometimes reluctant to take the pictures, fearing it will make the pet uncomfortable. But she said it isn’t long before they don’t even know she’s there.
“The bond is indescribable, but I try to capture those candid moments and usually pet owners don’t even realize I’m there after a while when I’m shooting,” Starr said. “I do lots of crazy antics to get them to smile and get excited and throw things in the air and use squeakers and crazy noises, but ultimately I try to focus on their true soul and spirit.”
Starr is a pet owner, too. It was her dog, Remington, who introduced her to her husband. Both were at a dog park, and his dog, Abby, went straight to Starr.
Remington is the face of Going with Grace, inspiring pet owners to face their fears and preserve their memories of a bond that can’t be broken.
“The feedback is probably what keeps me going. I get so much positive feedback from the people who are so grateful that they’ve got those memories after the pet has passed,” Starr said.
Whether it is months or days the pet has left, Starr is making a difference by keeping the better days in print forever.
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