Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Photographer captures owners with their pets before they are put to sleep

A photographer who specializes in capturing one final, emotionally charged shoot between aging pets and their owners has shared some of the tear-jerking photos she captured.

Lauren Smith-Kennedy, 28, who lives in Portland, Maine, captures poignant black and white photos of owners enjoying cherished time with their beloved pets as the animals approach the end of their lives.

The pet photographer says he hopes the photos provide some comfort to owners when their pets have passed away – and reveals that she has been asked to fly around the world for her job.

Scroll down for video

Powerful: Pet photographer Lauren Smith-Kennedy, 28, who lives in Portland, Maine, captures animals and their owners as the pets approach the end of their lives - Photo: Jill and Amy Barkley-Roy hug Winston the 12-year-old golden retriever

Powerful: Pet photographer Lauren Smith-Kennedy, 28, who lives in Portland, Maine, captures animals and their owners as the pets approach the end of their lives – Photo: Jill and Amy Barkley-Roy hug Winston the 12-year-old golden retriever

Just before you leave: Opie the dog struggles with ill health while his owner comforts him

Just before you leave: Opie the dog struggles with ill health while his owner comforts him

Just before you leave: Opie the dog struggles with ill health while his owner comforts him

Two siblings express their grief in different ways: The children of the Smith family hug CC, their 11-year-old border collie.  While the girl reminisces, the boy bursts into tears

Two siblings express their grief in different ways: The children of the Smith family hug CC, their 11-year-old border collie.  While the girl reminisces, the boy bursts into tears

Two siblings express their grief in different ways: The children of the Smith family hug CC, their 11-year-old border collie. While the girl reminisces, the boy bursts into tears

Smith-Kennedy says, “It’s a truly heartbreaking time for each family on their own journey of grief.

“It’s the deep heartbreak you feel when you know the life you’ve shared with that animal and anyone who’s had a pet can relate to that.”

She says she struggles to contain her own emotions when she looks back at the photos, but keeps them together as she shoots the photos.

“When I’m there, I’m doing my job, and if I let my own feelings become a distraction, I wouldn’t give the family a memory gift.”

“But when I’m driving home and looking at the pictures, my emotions catch up with me.”

Discussing some of the toughest photo shoots she’s done, she says it was tough watching two young children say goodbye to their 11-year-old border collie, CC.

The picture shows the siblings huddled around the pet after being asked to ‘give him some love’, and each expresses this in completely different ways.

Powerful black-and-white photos show owners embracing their aging pets, and Smith-Kennedy admits she finds the work emotional.  Pictured: Odie, the 11-year-old black lab, sits in the middle of Albuja's family for a final goodbye

Powerful black-and-white photos show owners embracing their aging pets, and Smith-Kennedy admits she finds the work emotional.  Pictured: Odie, the 11-year-old black lab, sits in the middle of Albuja's family for a final goodbye

Powerful black-and-white photos show owners embracing their aging pets, and Smith-Kennedy admits she finds the work emotional. Pictured: Odie, the 11-year-old black lab, sits in the middle of Albuja’s family for a final goodbye

The photographer says she keeps her own emotions in check during a shoot, but can be in tears when looking back at the images.  Pictured: Owner Kat Cavalry sits next to Indi the Irish Wolfhound

The photographer says she keeps her own emotions in check during a shoot, but can be in tears when looking back at the images.  Pictured: Owner Kat Cavalry sits next to Indi the Irish Wolfhound

The photographer says she keeps her own emotions in check during a shoot, but can be in tears when looking back at the images. Pictured: Owner Kat Cavalry sits next to Indi the Irish Wolfhound

The memorial photos bring comfort, Smith-Kennedey says.  Pictured: Brian and Tim sit on the floor with 11-year-old Malibu resting between them

The memorial photos bring comfort, Smith-Kennedey says.  Pictured: Brian and Tim sit on the floor with 11-year-old Malibu resting between them

The memorial photos bring comfort, Smith-Kennedey says. Pictured: Brian and Tim sit on the floor with 11-year-old Malibu resting between them

The young boy is moved to tears when he touches his pet, and his mother sympathizes with her bereaved son.

Within the same image, a young girl shares a fond memory of her time with the dog, bringing smiles to her grandparents looking down lovingly.

The photographer, who lives with her boyfriend Brendan, 30, and four-year-old cat Percy, say the images “really show the different dynamics of how people deal with their grief.

“I don’t tell them how to feel, I just urge them to do something with their dog and this inspires memories that lead them to feel a certain way.

The emotions are fair, says the photographer.  Pictured: Ron and Phyllis hug their 12-year-old golden retriever, Winston

The emotions are fair, says the photographer.  Pictured: Ron and Phyllis hug their 12-year-old golden retriever, Winston

The emotions are fair, says the photographer. Pictured: Ron and Phyllis hug their 12-year-old golden retriever, Winston

Winston, 12 years old, enjoys affection from his owners

Winston, 12 years old, enjoys affection from his owners

Owner Lisa Rose-Ewing lays hands on Abigail, her 15-year-old golden retriever

Owner Lisa Rose-Ewing lays hands on Abigail, her 15-year-old golden retriever

Winston, 12 years old, enjoys affection from his owners. Right: Owner Lisa Rose-Ewing lays hands on Abigail, her 15-year-old golden retriever

Laurie Garrity kisses 14-year-old golden retriever Lola while the rest of the Garrity family pats her

Laurie Garrity kisses 14-year-old golden retriever Lola while the rest of the Garrity family pats her

Laurie Garrity kisses 14-year-old golden retriever Lola while the rest of the Garrity family pats her

“I ask them to tell me about their pet and that’s why the emotion in the images is so real. If I were a different person looking at my photos from a different perspective, I think they would destroy me.”

Smith-Kennedy also works as an employee at a wildlife rescue center, began volunteering as an end-of-life pet photographer when her own cat Tilly was killed in a freak accident.

She found that the work helped her through her own grief and that she could help others as well.

“It has all grown so fast and it was a privilege to witness it and I hope we can all help as many families as possible,” she says.

Hey little lady: Owner Andrea Lynn holds Maggie the 12-year-old Chihuahua in an affectionate pose

Hey little lady: Owner Andrea Lynn holds Maggie the 12-year-old Chihuahua in an affectionate pose

Hey little lady: Owner Andrea Lynn holds Maggie the 12-year-old Chihuahua in an affectionate pose

Lisa and Brett Ewing hug Abigail their 15-year-old golden retriever

Lisa and Brett Ewing hug Abigail their 15-year-old golden retriever

Owner Zoe puts her head against the head of Lola the 8-year-old chocolate labrador

Owner Zoe puts her head against the head of Lola the 8-year-old chocolate labrador

Lisa and Brett Ewing hug Abigail their 15-year-old golden retriever. Right: Owner Zoe rests her head against the head of Lola the 8-year-old chocolate labrador

“I’m inundated with requests, some people even offer to fly me somewhere, but I can’t always do it because of my work in animal protection.

“I started doing this because of Tilly, it allows me to process my own grief, but also to honor all these other wonderful pets. It’s been very cathartic.’

And while dogs are central to her work, Lauren has also been asked to photograph other animals’ last moments, including a pet rat.

She said: ‘We honored a rat named Velma, rats don’t live long and she had breathing problems, she was so sweet and loving and she was very loved by her family.

“A lot of people don’t necessarily think of having the same love for rats as they do for cats and dogs, but it’s about the connection we build and the memories we create.

‘In the future I hope to have performances of many more species, because the bond is there, regardless of the animal.’

.