Freedom Focus Photography - previously the Hair of the Dog Podcast

Navigating End of Life Sessions with Wendy Sloneker

February 23, 2021 Nicole Begley, Wendy Sloneker Episode 54
Navigating End of Life Sessions with Wendy Sloneker
Freedom Focus Photography - previously the Hair of the Dog Podcast
More Info
Freedom Focus Photography - previously the Hair of the Dog Podcast
Navigating End of Life Sessions with Wendy Sloneker
Feb 23, 2021 Episode 54
Nicole Begley, Wendy Sloneker

054 - If you haven't yet gotten the call, you surely will at some point. Someone's beloved pet is nearing the end of his life; maybe they've just received a terminal diagnosis. You agree to a portrait session, hang up the phone...and panic. How on earth will you make it through such an emotionally charged session? 

 Grief-recovery specialist Wendy Sloneker is my guest on this week's episode. Drawing on her 40 years of experience in the field, Wendy offers sage advice on showing up for your clients during their most difficult hours.  

What To Listen For: 

  • Questions and listening techniques to connect empathetically with clients
  • Deep thoughts on accepting money for your end-of-life sessions
  • How to handle the sales session if a pet has already passed
  • Specific products to offer pet parents from these shoots

To further prepare—or help heal your own broken heart—get your hands on Wendy's Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss. She's generously giving away four copies, and you can throw your hat in the ring by following The SugarFace Network on social (links below).   

Resources From This Episode: 


Show Notes Transcript

054 - If you haven't yet gotten the call, you surely will at some point. Someone's beloved pet is nearing the end of his life; maybe they've just received a terminal diagnosis. You agree to a portrait session, hang up the phone...and panic. How on earth will you make it through such an emotionally charged session? 

 Grief-recovery specialist Wendy Sloneker is my guest on this week's episode. Drawing on her 40 years of experience in the field, Wendy offers sage advice on showing up for your clients during their most difficult hours.  

What To Listen For: 

  • Questions and listening techniques to connect empathetically with clients
  • Deep thoughts on accepting money for your end-of-life sessions
  • How to handle the sales session if a pet has already passed
  • Specific products to offer pet parents from these shoots

To further prepare—or help heal your own broken heart—get your hands on Wendy's Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss. She's generously giving away four copies, and you can throw your hat in the ring by following The SugarFace Network on social (links below).   

Resources From This Episode: 


00:00:00               Hey everybody. Nicole Begley here back for another hair of the dog podcast episode, today's guest is Wendy Slonaker and she is a grief recovery specialist from heart healing, from And we have just a great conversation. If you are considering offering end of life sessions in your pet photography business, this is a must listen to if you have been worried about offering those,

00:00:25               because you're not sure how to act, what to say, how to get through it, how to handle your own emotions. Monday shares lots of incredible techniques to help you get through it. If you are already offering these end of life sessions, well, you definitely need to stick around and listen to this episode. Welcome to the hair of the dog podcast.

00:00:44               If you're a pet photographer, ready to make more money and start living a life by your design, you've come to the right place. And now your host, pet photographer, travel addict, chocolate martini connoiseur, Nicole Begley. Hey everybody, Nicole here from hair of the dog. And I am here with a very special guest. We have Wendy's Sloneker and she is from heart healing from loss.

00:01:09               Her mission is to teach adults how to heal from the pain of loss so they can have a wholehearted life be an action paced action-based one-on-one method or in group small group settings. And today we are talking about how to help our clients and ourselves as photographers. If we are dealing with the very hard, but Oh gosh, happens way too often. Challenge of dealing with end of life sessions or when a client's pet that you photographed,

00:01:35               even when they were younger passes away. So Wendy, welcome to the podcast. Thank you everybody. I'm so happy to be here with you. Yay. We're so happy. We're so happy to have you. So before we dive into it, I mean, this is such an important topic and something that, you know, so many pet photographers are so emotionally connected to the animals and we are very empathetic for that.

00:02:02               And I feel like a lot of us kind of bring that on ourselves. So I'm really excited to have this conversation today. But before we dive into that, maybe you just want to tell us a little bit about you and your background, all that good stuff. Thank you so much. My business, heart healing from loss is kind of a culmination of my entire life experience in all the jobs with all the people,

00:02:23               doing all the things. So there is nothing wasted about life experience. And I operate as a teacher for a method called the grief recovery method has been around for about 40 years. It's that? Action-based shoot. What was the word? It was the action-based evidence. Action. Evidence-based say, sorry about that. I'm just, that's a lot of, that's a lot of action words all in one,

00:02:53               then say, I guess that's what it's based on. It's not on anything I'm making Up. It's based on evidence about the brain and the heart and interacting together. What is helpful based on, and it's been around for about 40 years. So that's kind of what I do and how I do it. I do have a dog right now. Her name is Rosie.

00:03:15               She is a rescue. She was fished out of a forest with her sister somewhere in the state of Washington. And I found her online and I call her my miniature bulldozer. She is like equal parts, Dalmatian, Rottweiler, and Malamute. And boy, she is all kinds of everything. And she's her own independent little<inaudible> fantastic. It looks like,

00:03:42               like she's blonde. So she was also a surprise. I love it. I love it. I, myself and the proud, gosh, I guess I don't want to say owner because you know, whatever, she's like, she's she runs the household more than me. Actually. The cat runs the household the most, but my daughter, Zoe is a Puerto Rican rescue that she was found with all of her brothers and sisters drowning in a bucket of water at two weeks old.

00:04:07               So she was taken in by the rescue. Only half of her litter made it. She was one of the strong ones to climb on the others. Poor thing. She is very special. Everyone's like, is she a puppy? She's five. She has a short little Snell and she's just like 35 pounds and just the perfect size and looks like, it looks like I call her my domestic dog dog wild type,

00:04:30               because she looks like a wild type dog. Like, it's just like, this is what they would look like if they were wild, excuse me, bring it back to pre domestic dog. But, but must be on the couch in the bed and close to you at all times. Wow. I like the snuggly factor. Rosie is not, Zoe will snuggle you until you just like Nick,

00:04:54               which is amazing girl. Yeah, Girl. Yeah. She's perfect. Anyway. Yeah. We could like talk about our pets all day, but that's not why people came. We are caught up. I love it. So yeah. So let's, I guess maybe dive into the first part and you know, maybe help some of our photographers that gosh,

00:05:17               before you, even the first time you get that call and it's like, I have a dog, don't have much time left. Can you do a session? Of course, we're all like, yes, absolutely. We 100% try to squeeze it in wherever we can. And then we hang up with that client and we're like, Oh my God, how am I going to do this?

00:05:33               Right. Yeah. Well, you know, one, one place to start is where you've been yourself. This is what kind of that life experience is all like and about. So I want to talk a little bit about grief and loss because it's just not discussed and it's misunderstood as a topic. So in order to prepare for that session, part of it is like,

00:05:57               okay, where am I at with my own experiences of losing pets or pets dying or pets, even having injuries, if you've never experienced that, if you haven't experienced any of that, it's okay. This is where your creative empathetic heart comes right into play. And just imagine like, where are they at right now? What happened in my past that they are,

00:06:22               you know, could be having in their lives. A lot of the fact is is that we don't know what our client is kind of going through. They're only sharing, like, here's what I need to get done, but they're not maybe sharing a whole lot emotionally. This is okay. We've been trained not to share a whole lot emotionally making the most of this and just getting to a place like as soon as you hang up the phone with that,

00:06:49               what if you just took us second and touched your own heart and went, Ooh, that's a hard spot that it's like, that's just pure empathy. That's pure being in touch with what they might be going through in the face of like, not a lot of time left. This is precious. Now this is, I want to catch every moment. Now this is a hundred percent love.

00:07:13               And the other thing I want to share is is that grief and feelings of loss is totally natural and normal as human beings, we are wired for this and in society, we are trained to deny and deflect and distract. So we don't often get a chance to have that pure feeling, but hanging up the phone and just putting both of your hands kind of on your chest area or on your heart and just saying,

00:07:40               Ooh, because that's just going to activate, how can I help? Which is another phrase of like, what can I do? I can't take it away. I can't make it go away. I can't keep the pet here longer, but how can I show up? And that gets you out of your worry and into planned action. Yes. I love that.

00:08:03               I find that, you know, taking that moment to feel that, and then looking at the reframe of I can help, you know, instead of this being sad is going to be a celebration of this particular animal and what we're creating today, this owner is going to have and cherish for decades and what an honor it is to create that. And it doesn't mean like you can't shed a tear.

00:08:29               I mean, I'm starting to tear up here just thinking about without even any specific dog in mind. Right. And think about like, if it's an old pet, if it's a young pet, what are the losses there? So like getting into trying to name what those losses are. This is not, you know, it's ending too soon. This,

00:08:49               these are sad. This is like a hundred percent, you know, healthy to, this is sad. This is a loss, this is something and someone that I love and care about and have guided through all the things, because, you know, if a client knows that they're kind of approaching end of life or they've received a diagnosis, that's really hard.

00:09:11               All of the relationship, like the meaningful things that have come up good and, you know, challenging are coming up now. And this is a point of remembering and trying to make sense of. So I want to just encourage you that, you know, you're coming in at a moment where they may be having lots of memories as well. And so when you show up to that,

00:09:35               I want to talk a little bit about like what you do right before a session like this, as well as like those, those moments where you may not know what to say, right? Cause you're there to capture the beauty of whatever the state, this, this animal is in and the relationship that they have with their humans and the other, like sort of sibling pets as well.

00:09:57               Right? So that's a valuable thing, especially for a relationship there between sibs. So if you don't, if you're in a place where you're not sure kind of what to say, and you're just kind of holding the space, I have a listening technique for you and a question that may really help you just sort of bridge and smooth. Okay. That'll be great.

00:10:19               Okay, cool. So some of the talking points are like we, as people who are offering services, do not know these animals, these pets, as well as their owners are there they're humans. So what we can say is, I couldn't know them really very well. Can you tell me a little bit about them? They have all these memories.

00:10:41               And so that is an outlet. Tell me more about when you know, Jackie boy, you know, was younger or was there something particularly funny or I noticed that he's limping a little bit right now. Can you tell me what's going on there? Because oftentimes what happens is pet lovers, they get shut down frequently because what they love most in the world are,

00:11:07               is this animal, like they're a very deep relationship with a pet is often diminished by, you know, other people in the environment, other people in their families or support systems, they don't understand because they don't have that relationship that they do with this gorgeous creature. So here's the question again, tell me more about Rex when they were a puppy. When you know,

00:11:33               like when did, if it's a tripod, when did the leg come off or when did that happen? Tell me more like being with them at that point and then how to listen. This is like one of the most gorgeous things I've ever learned. And I got it from my grief recovery certification. And it is, you imagine yourself like full body as a heart with ears,

00:11:56               no mouth, let them talk and you let them be there with them and you capture as you can, but you just like, you're just full of love and space or what they're going through. I love that because I think so many times you get there and you're like, Oh my gosh, how am I supposed to act like I'm, I'm personally like usually upbeat and excited and like sessions are super fun,

00:12:20               but you're like, Oh man, this is a damper on the session because this is a sad session, but I don't want to just be sad. I love that question. It's so simple. And it allows your client to just, just talk, which I'm sure is healing for them. And it allows you to like gauge where their emotions are. So you can kind of gauge the level of the session.

00:12:45               Totally. And you know, like, it's okay if you're, you know, if you say, I don't know what to say, and you say, my heart just really goes out to you. That's okay. Because you know what they may be hearing in other places is, you know, don't be sad, right? It's just a dog happens to be like the most damaging words,

00:13:10               pet owner, you. And you're like, I'm sure you as creatives and photographers and pet service providers are not ever saying that because of your sensitivity, right? That doesn't mean that your clients or potential clients are not receiving that information to sort of like tamp down and not acknowledge like the love that is coming through the sadness, right. Clients can feel more than one thing at a time and grief can offer a feelings of like sadness and heaviness.

00:13:41               And then all of a sudden you're laughing with tears coming down your face because you're remembering that time that they skidded across the kitchen counter in pursuit of the cat or whatever. So you're laughing and you're crying and time is warping and stretching. You have this brain fog happening and you're just like lost because your heart is broken. Yeah. One of the most impactful things I ever heard and in regards to grief was that you can be feeling sadness and grief and also be grateful at the same time.

00:14:20               So to focus on that, that gratefulness, Right? Like they're here right now. Look at them right now. And that's another point is like, you're not there to capture the future. Yeah. You're there to capture the moment. And there's so much in that moment that there's nothing wrong. There's so much there for you to be with and be a witness to,

00:14:40               and, you know, thank them if they're talking and they say something that's really important and they're having their emotion, like consider like packing some hankies choose to offer them. They may not have it there, but they're going to be really thankful that the experience is number one, thoughtful. But more than that, it's real. Like you're showing up as a real person and not a provider.

00:15:06               Right. You're showing up as a person. Yeah. Big you already, I guess like the thing I want to share here too, is like sweet, sweet audience. You know how to do this? You do this all day. And anyway, it's just, you know, harder because there's, it's a harder point. Yeah. Well, and I think so many people get in their head too with like,

00:15:30               Oh, now they're paying me to do this. So now that they're getting paid to do something that changes something in their brain about making it more stressful or, you know, all these different expectations, I guess where, I mean the easiest way to move forward, really for anything, whether it's people being fearful of like, Oh my gosh, a sales session,

00:15:51               or being invisible on social media or this or that is just to do it from a place of service and just check your intention and just say, you know, what's my intention here. Okay. I come, I can step my ego out of the way. Then Take a heart with ears with no mouth moment for yourself. Like, okay, stop talking,

00:16:12               stop the shattering. Like what's going on right below my neck. What's happening right there. Because you know, that's, there's nothing wrong there and there's nothing wrong with, could I just touch on that point about feeling bad about, or feeling reticent since there's a charge, that's an energy point. I kind of have the belief that money is an energy.

00:16:36               And so having there be an exchange for something real is not anything that is to be diminished. It's actually just a point of exchange. So like, you can certainly charge it with, I shouldn't be charging, but you don't have to, like, that's really not a requirement. And that's something that I frankly did for a while in my freelance writing practice and didn't serve,

00:17:01               I ended up feeling other feelings that had nothing to do with what I wanted to be doing. So, you know, you can set that down anytime. Yeah. That's a huge one. That's, they're getting paid. Don't like doing like the euthanasia is either, and it's an exchange that is a service there is capturing and there's artistry here too. So if you are providing an exceptional experience of being right here right now,

00:17:32               with someone who's hurting, you've just leveled up your game. I don't know if he knew that Great. And you deserve to get paid for leveling up that game. I mean, if you're, if you're offering to do something for a friend, you know, out of the goodness of your heart and you're offering to do it for free 100%, do it all day.

00:17:49               But when somebody is contacting you for a service, you provide, it is okay to take money for that service. Exactly. You know, therapists Often get paid. Yeah. It's really, you don't have to make it the pinnacle thing. Right. It's not about the money. It's not about the brain. It's about the, the point in time that you're there and showing up,

00:18:18               and that's a service. People will gladly pay to be held and supported in a way that does not diminish the relationship with like one of the most precious things that they have in the world. I love it. So, yeah. So you were mentioning something before, before we started about three most damaging words that you can say to a potential or to a client that we most likely won't say probably good to know.

00:18:53               Yeah. What they might be experiencing. Yeah. Nicole, you totally already said it. It was, it's just stuff like, there's nothing more diminishing than it's just, and again, we cannot control what is being said in other areas. But I do want to share that it's so pervasive that people are afraid to come out with, like in my grief groups and grief work,

00:19:17               people are afraid to come forward with their pet losses because, you know, they try to compare with, you know, a people loss or a job loss or something. And they may find themselves saying, Oh, it was just, it was just up. But frankly, like that's not helpful and it doesn't help in recovery at all. So like,

00:19:42               we try to compare it so many times because we rely on the brain to really take care of us around this. So the brain is not going to be able to figure this out. It's the harder, like the brain is not broken. It is the heart that is broken or breaking. So like, let it be what it is. Just let it be what it is.

00:19:58               I am devastated. I was devastated by the death of my Wiener dog. He was kind of like my sole companion. And he got me through a lot of my own adulthood growing up. So like when auto passed, I was like, my whole world just didn't make sense anymore. It, it just didn't. And there was no way that I could compare that to anything anybody else was going on without me,

00:20:27               myself completely losing or somehow picking up judgment and shame and not dealing with my own heartbreak, not giving myself that care. So in my practice, it's about there being no judgment and no exceptions. So it's not about the size of the animal, you know, like, well, all horses are more sad when a horse dies. Then when a fish dies,

00:20:51               you know, like it's about the relationship and the intensity, sometimes the longevity, but it's really about the connection. So I actually had, I did this action based method with myself on a dog walk the other day for a fish. I used to have that, like I had this beta fish, I moved from New York to Seattle in 2004 and I moved them across country in a Ziploc bag.

00:21:19               It was amazing. Like this fish went to the grand Canyon was amazing. Like I held him in my little ball cap was the Ziploc bag. And he was in the passenger, you know, kind of area. So he came with me, I love it. I get to California and I'm getting ready to put him in his like special you're now in California home.

00:21:41               And I forgot to treat the water. So I like every time this has been 2004 is 2021. Right now I have felt like little hooks of, and twinges of dang, just beating myself up for not treating the water. And you know, of course he died cause the water was from California canning, but that's what happened. Right. So he died and he was with me for a lot,

00:22:07               like that fish was with me for at least two years while I lived in New York and moved across the country with me. I mean, and some people would say it's just a fish, but that fish, like, he was there from hay in ways and places that nobody else was. So like, just go ahead and let it be. And so I said,

00:22:29               geez, you know, I am so sorry and I have an emotional connection cause he keeps showing up and I keep feeling bad and I don't have to do that. Right. There's a method for moving through this, which was like, Oh, why am I not doing that? You know, like you were really there for me acknowledge, say it out loud,

00:22:48               prefix about unspoken, like the unresolved grief, pizzas about what's unspoken, a communication that you just have. And so I did this the other day and it's like, it's really simple. It's not complicated, but it does take the sting out of, I made a mistake, you know? And it's, you know, it's not about that. Like I felt really awful and I still wish that fish was here,

00:23:16               but you know, 2004 to 2021, probably not gonna happen. So it's about the relationship. Yeah. Like back to the thing it's about like what was the connection and just honoring the connection. So you're feeling a loss, that's what you're feeling. And then to get over with the fish. Was it more just about you admitting to yourself that, Hey,

00:23:41               this was a mistake. This is not a, like just, just kind of admitting out loud what happened and it's okay. And just saying out loud that like I give myself permission to get over my guilt that I have from this. No, it was actually thank you. This is so amazing. Like, I didn't know we were going here today.<inaudible> Okay.

00:24:03               So for animals, for relationships, okay. That go really deep and get in there. Even when a physical relationship ends when an animal or a person, when someone dies, the physical relationships that the emotional relationship can continue. Because like people that I know still talk to their grandmothers who have been past for a long time, people talk to their ancestors.

00:24:31               I sometimes like auto comes in my dreams. Like this is kind of what happens. And I count this as an emotional relationship that continues why, because I am having emotions about this stuff. Like I'm still having them. It is still happening. And there are points where I was like, I wish Otto was here to meet Rosie or I, you know,

00:24:52               like he would love this place. I'm seeing this. Or that was just the right, like smack for that dog. Just whatever that is. Like the emotional part keeps going. And so for me with this fish, it was about, Hey fish, you're still here. And like in my heart, you're still here. And I really apologize for not treating that water,

00:25:18               like taking responsibility for that. Like taking responsibility was not, it's not about letting myself off the hook. It's about owning that. I, you know, I miss you, I hated how you died because like, that was my, my mistake. And I didn't want to, I didn't mean to, I was really excited for you to be in California with me and then to move up to Seattle a few months later and you know,

00:25:46               you, and then I'm really grateful that you were right there with me in ways that nobody else was. I think the key probably is moving away, like admitting that, that responsibility, but not dwelling and beating yourself up for years and years. Cause I think a lot of people can fall down that, that spiral of shame where they just won't get out of that hole and just kick out,

00:26:09               kept kicking, kicking themselves, not forgiving themselves. Right. Well, and part of that, you know, could be that like for me, I was like having a little chat with a dead fish. So I was making that apology to the fit, like to the fish. So that was my part. That was the thing I did. And I don't have to feel it anymore.

00:26:31               Well, an unrelated, but also related. There's a show on Netflix called surviving death. That is fascinating. And it is all about just yeah. Being able to still, you know, consciousness to how it lives on and communicating between these different, different planes of existence and fascinating in front of you guys out there. That's on Netflix right now, surviving death,

00:26:52               six, six episodes. I think crazy to some great stuff there, but I didn't know they were going there. Yeah. And yeah, my, well, this is funny. Well, we always go off on a mini tangent. So here's our mini tangent for this show. Usually it's about food today. It's about like reincarnation. So in the last episode,

00:27:20               they're talking about these kids that, you know, are coming that, that remember these past lives. And I won't go into any more than that, other than the proof that they then go through. And these are like, you know, scientists and PhDs at like university of Virginia MIT that are studying these types of things. But anyway, my son,

00:27:41               when he was little, he, when he was like two, we'd be like, his name is Colin. And he would correct us and says, no, my name's Danna for like six months. He kept on saying, my name's Donna. I'm like, no, your name's Collin. And then he was maybe like two and a half and there's this book called many lives,

00:27:58               many masters. I read a while ago. It's also about like a psychologist or psychiatrist that ends up working with this woman on some trauma that she had. But during her hypnosis session, she goes back through like past lives, super fascinating. And the basis of that is the people that we're connected with in this lifetime. We have also been connected with in some way in past lifetimes.

00:28:21               So anyway, fast forward, back to my son being like two and a half sitting with my mom and they were talking about something and, and she said something about, Oh, well, you know what, when you get married, when you're older and he looked at her like totally dead, completely serious face. Like we were already, he married to him and my mom,

00:28:44               my mom married in a past life. Like how many times did we tell kids? Like, no, no, you know, whatever. But yeah, they're more connected to, to all sorts of stuff. Right. But anyway, this podcast is about Petly. That's amazing. Yes. Yes. All right. So let's, let's steer it back over towards,

00:29:21               towards some of our sessions for our pets. And I know one of the big challenges that a lot of pet photographers have, you know, along the lines of accepting the money, but then if they do the session and then the pet passes, you know, before they do the sales session and then they're like, Oh my gosh, I don't even know what to do.

00:29:45               This is so awkward. Oh, like what, what should they do? And All right. Number one, that is not an easy place for you to be so, wow. This can be challenging. The other thing you can do is have a little bit of a plan. And here's what I recommend. If you hear that the pet passes you call,

00:30:07               or you send a note, handwritten note, send it immediately. Oh my goodness. I, my heart goes out to you. I know you loved that. Or parrot fish, cat, reptile, whatever it is so much, my heart is with you and then sign it and send it. Have, don't say a word about this sales. Anything,

00:30:33               no need, just go ahead and be the human who puts a stamp on a letter and sends it out or gives a call or checks in or drops off a dish or, you know, like whatever is possible. Do the human thing first, just go ahead and do that and be that, because that is the experience that is coming in. When a pet passes or a person experiences a loss in their life,

00:30:56               their entire world is rocked. And they have people who may be in their world saying don't feel bad, which is how they already feel. So telling them not to feel how they feel. It was just, they have that. Like they may be feeling like they can't reach out because they're hearing so much that it was just up. So that may be impacting how they are returning or responding to messages about sales calls or dealing with themselves around their loss.

00:31:27               They may be experiencing tremendous fatigue and brain fog. It's not going to make sense that like what they've known as being familiar and regular patterns of feeding and caring and, you know, taking out or letting out or bringing in or putting out the hay, whatever it is, that's different now. And it's abrupt, even if they knew it was coming. So the human thing is the next right thing.

00:31:56               And then like, give it a little time. If you have some time between, you know, the sales session, if it's a few weeks out, check in, in half the amount of time and say, you know, you're on my heart, that's it. That's all you need to say. Confirm like, because their brain is going to be like having a hard time.

00:32:17               Their heart is having a hard time at all shorts out, and this is normal and natural response. They may feel angry. They're probably not going to be angry. Like they're not going to be angry with you. They're going to be angry because their heart is broken. So they may have shorter fuses around traffic or, you know, what's for dinner or things like that.

00:32:36               But it's just like, they're operating from a major loss. So understanding that is going to be a thing, go ahead and set a confirmation or a reminder out and ask like, Hey, do you feel up to having this session to see these, these photos that we captured together on that day? Yeah. And like putting the thing in around, we captured that together on that day is going to spark some memories about that day,

00:33:06               which is probably going to be a lot more positive than what they're feeling at that moment. So like give them something to look forward to. Yeah. Yeah. I think people struggle with wanting to give them time, then also not wanting to ignore it because then to be like, well, maybe they're ready to see their pictures. So yeah, the being human part and then just,

00:33:26               you know, wait at appropriate amount a week or two or however long whenever they are expecting to hear from you next and just let them know, Hey, I'm ready to review these that we created together. When you're ready, we can do that soon. Or if you want to wait a little bit, I can check back in two weeks, right?

00:33:42               Like we're scheduled for here. Does that still, like you still feeling up for that right. And ask them, like, they're going to appreciate being asked because what they're getting is being told to not feel bad, to be strong, to just go get another whatever, and to replace the loss, which is not like that's a brain response. That's not response.

00:34:04               Even for those pet photographers that are doing packages. So they already say their client already paid for everything upfront. They know exactly what they're getting. Maybe they're getting a whole collection and they're getting everything. I would even venture to send an email with that to say, Hey, everything's ready. Are you ready to see them? Or do you want to wait?

00:34:22               Yeah. Let it be up to them because they may, they may need more time. They may not need more time, but they're the ones who are going to know. Yeah. If you guys out there and hear the dog land or trying to figure out, you know, what products might be really, really nice for clients, am I reach out to you for these types of sessions because they're not necessarily going to want like a big,

00:34:43               giant wall piece of their dog, especially if it's an older dog, the end of life. They're probably not. That's not how they usually remember the best years of their dog's life. So it's usually not going to be a ballpark portrait purchase. A lot of my end of life sessions really love having an image box that, you know, sits on a,

00:35:02               somewhere in their home with some images inside. They can put leashes or callers inside as well. Also, if you want to go to episode 29 of this podcast, we had Mandy Pratt from gray boy prints that does beautiful, beautiful handcrafted artwork. You definitely want to check that out too. That is our beautiful pieces to incorporate into these types of sessions.

00:35:22               So yeah. So Wendy, what other resources do you, do you have any suggestions for some reasons Versus for people I do. And it's, it's not kind of like the after, like what to do with cremains or, or things like that or photo based, but it be that you having a few friends in your local area who offer services around pet depth,

00:35:44               like in Seattle, we have resting waters, which is an acclimation service for pets who have passed. So instead of cremation, they use a water process and it's just a different way of doing it. I think there's a environmental benefit to that as well. But having friends in your local area who like, who do you recommend, or when you, cause you're kind of a leader in terms of,

00:36:07               if you're offering end of life, sir, like sessions you may like be looked to and wouldn't it be great to have like something to share about, Hey, try this person, this, this is a vetted, you know, something or, you know, being buried at how D how do you have a service for cremains being shared in the water?

00:36:30               Like we have a ferry system in Seattle around like, okay, it's a lot of times people will stop the boat and like have a little bit of a, a sea ceremony. Can you do that for animals? Who does what for pets that, you know, have an interest in your area. And so making friends and just having a little sheet around like,

00:36:52               Hey, here's who I call, where did you go? Did you like your experience when your, you know, personal losses happen? Where do you go? Because these are also things that are not discussed. Right. Right. And gosh, you know, I think we, we can take that, that recommendation to any process, any piece of our process,

00:37:11               like any time we can offer suggestions, you're just, again, that's going in the kind human camp, which has a long way. Like it does a lot for clients loving you and referring you and just building that relationship with your client and, you know, creating this a service of value, you know, all the value we offer doesn't have to be our value.

00:37:34               It can be sharing other valuable, you know, opportunities for them as well. Right. And you know what, they're going to be happy to have a direction to go in, to look for. Especially if you have vetted these resources in advance or these partners that you're working with. So, you know, like whatever you can do to sort of lighten the load,

00:37:54               because overwhelm is also easily a thing when you're grieving and a loss. So, you know, narrow the choice field a little bit and put them in the direction of somebody that you adore working with. I love that. I love that. Lindy, do you have any kind of last thoughts for all of our pet photographers out there as we wrap up?

00:38:18               Yeah. Well, it's just more encouragement, like what you have to offer and what you capture in those end of life sessions specifically. Like those are things that are going to be cherished. And so if you're nervous about reaching out, because you have these things in the, pet's no longer there, what you have is what they want. So please like be the human person and just connect with them and ask them what they need and how they need it and do your best.

00:38:46               That's you're already doing it. You're doing it, you know, in this realm as well. So this is all life. This is totally normal. Yeah. And I think if people understand, like they don't need to know exactly what to say to every time. Like it's okay to say, I don't know what to say, except I'm really sorry this happened.

00:39:02               Or, you know, my heart, my heart is with you. Yeah. Yeah. I'll just be here with you. Like, do you want to review these on your own? I'll go out and step out on the porch or whatever, and you can have a few minutes, like give them just time and space and the heart with yours and no mouth will serve you.

00:39:21               Yes. I love that. Perfect. Thank you so much for being here with us. I know that you have an awesome little book giveaway for everyone. I have a book and guess what? I have kind of like a partnership project going on with a Moffitt of dirty tography. So I have three copies of the grief recovery handbook for pet loss. Then I would like to like share as a contest with this audience.

00:39:54               Hi, I had three opportunities for you to have this resource about pet loss and recovering from pet loss. Nice. Nice. How would one enter, Please, please go to the sugar face network on Instagram or the sugar face network on Twitter and like, and follow in either or both places. And we will, you know what, I think I'm going to make it for books because we can do two from Instagram and two from Twitter.

00:40:32               And that way there's no, there's no platform feeling left out or undone. So Instagram or Twitter, sugar face network, take a look, follow like there we're picking from there. Awesome. So yeah. Double your chances. Follow on both. I love it. And then when you, where can people Find you if they want to follow you on the interwebs?

00:40:57               Go to my website for sure. Heart healing from loss. It's actually Wendy, but on Twitter, I'm heart healing from loss, and it'd be really fun to just meet and connect with all of you out there. Thank you so much for being here. I think we brought a lot of, hopefully some support to all of you guys out there providing this amazing service to pet owners all across the globe.

00:41:24               So thank you for doing that. And just to remember, I love that heart with ears, no mouth, and just be a good human and it will serve you well. Thanks Wendy. Thanks everyone. We'll see you next week. Thanks for listening to this episode of hair of the dog podcast. If you enjoyed this show, please take a minute to leave a review.

00:41:45               And while you're there, don't forget to subscribe. So you don't miss our upcoming episodes. One last thing, if you are ready to dive into more resources, head over to our Thanks for being a part of this pet photography community.