Photographer Ross Taylor found himself "profoundly moved" when a close friend of his struggled with the death of her pet. Inspired by the emotional turmoil of the tragic day, Taylor was inspired to create a photography series he calls “Last Moments.”
Taking place between 2017 and 2018 in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, Taylor followed an at-home pet euthanasia service called Lap of Love. The program provided assistance to each family seen in the series, so that their beloved pets (family members, really,) could pass away peacefully at home. Each photograph in Taylor's series displays raw emotion, grief, and the bond between pet and owner at the end of a pet's life. In the family home, rather than the cold discomfort of a vet's office... it's easy to say that Taylor captured something intimate that many have experienced but so few could describe.
Olesya Lykovi breaks down after her dog, Sam, dies.
Moments before, Olesya asked the doctor if Sam was gone. He replied, "he has his wings now.”
With her sister Kimberly there to comfort her in grief, Kiara Manrique wept as she held her dog, saying, “I tried to do more, I tried to do all I can. But they said there’s nothing more I can do.”
After pacing the room, Marquita Leibe bent down to stroke her dog, Daisy, for the last time. Beside her, her husband Donald.
As Daisy was put to sleep, Donald stepped outside to compose himself.
Kai could sense something was different. He followed his humans as they drove slowly through the grass, on the way to to bury Kai's sibling, Asia.
Ross Taylor reflected on this moment, saying, "the smell of freshly turned earth is what I remember and how peaceful Asia looked within it."
Carrie Peterson, Asia's owner dug Asia's grave, placed her lovingly in it, and dropped sunflowers over her.
Mere moments after Spencer left the earthly realm, his owner Leigh Zahn sat with him one last time, unable to stop herself from weeping.
Sitting together on the couch, Rebecca Cassity and her husband, Drew, tearfully said goodbye to their dog Coco.
“Coco was there for me when he was on deployment,” Rebecca said.
Cindy and Bob snuggled with their dog Heidi... one last time. The moment Taylor captured? Heidi looking up at Bob with all the love in the world a dog has to offer. She was euthanized moments later while the couple's other dog, Winnie, looked in through the glass door.
Allie was 15-years old and had been struggling with balance issues after being diagnosed with cancer. Dr. Glassler stopped by the family home to give a hospice visit and to offer suggestions how to best handle the situation.
Ross reflected, “Dr. Gassler, and so many others like her, are amazing at what they do and help the painful transition daily, without drawing attention to themselves. They have my respect."
Vanessa Gangadyal comforts her 8-year old son, Lan. Her husband strokes teir dog, Ally, shortly after she passed away.
Lap of Love joined forces with Caring Pathways to provide this “at home” peaceful euthanasia service.
Surrounded by family members, Wendy Lehr cuddles with her dog, Mimosa. A snuggle-filled goodbye.
Wendy said: “It couldn’t be done without their willingness to participate and believe in the project… They have my respect.”
According to the biography on his website:
Ross Taylor is a Denver-based freelance photographer and filmmaker. He's also an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. While at CU Boulder he has been one of two faculty fellows in the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy.
Previously he was a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the inaugural fellow with the Multimedia Photography and Design Department at Syracuse University.
Taylor has worked for prestigious visual newspapers such as The Virginian-Pilot and The Hartford Courant, as well as won numerous national and international awards, including Photojournalist of the Year (Large Markets). His work in a trauma hospital in Afghanistan was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He’s also been named Northern Photographer of the Year, Virginia Photographer of the Year and North Carolina Photographer of the Year (twice).
He is the creator of the industry resource: