When I started my photography journey, I did not know where it would lead me. Working with families, babies, and couples brings me happiness. However, there is just something special about working with animals. There is bliss and wonder in their silence, and joy in their wonderful barks. This past summer I made the decision to pay honor to my beloved boxer Cleo. Project Cleo was launched. An organization providing free of charge Bliss sessions, to families saying goodbye to their beloved pets. I never know who I am going to meet during a Project Cleo session, but one family has changed me forever.
On Tuesday, I received an urgent Facebook message, from my good friend Sue. A family was in need! They were getting ready to say goodbye to their pit bull Hector. Without hesitation (which really surprises everyone) I said yes. Project Cleo is a 24/7 organization, if I can make it work, I do. I started discussing a time and location with Clara. I never realized that her sweet put bull Hector would have such an amazing story to tell me.
Hector was one of 51 pit bulls rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick's fighting rings. Hector made his initial journey to Bad Rap on the west coast. He went to many fosters, but finally found his home in Minnesota with Clara and Roo. Hector is one of the lucky ones, and fully enjoyed his new life with Clara and Roo. He passed the Canine Good Citizen test twice, and became a Certified Therapy Dog to visit nursing homes and hospitals. He also went to schools to help teach children how to act safely around dogs. In retirement he loves long walks along the trails in Rochester, MN and sun bathing!
What an amazing journey, all the lives Hector has touched, and the advocacy he has raised to this amazing breed!
For the first time at the end of a Project Cleo session, I was able to sit down and talk with Clara and Roo. As the sun set, and the cool fall wind blew. We talked about all the amazing things Hector has done, what they love most about him, and what they will miss. You never know how much of a presence a animal has in your life, until they are gone. The way they clack their nails for dinner, the signs of affection, and all the silly times. Clara and Roo expressed so many emotions, the happiness and celebration of Hector's life and the realization of heartache letting him go.
I had to say goodbye, I never really want to, but I have to.
I gave sweet Hector a pat on back, a kiss on the head, and told him to say hello to Cleo for me.
With tears in my eyes, I wished Clara, Roo and Hector a sweet goodbye.
I hope they can hold on to these images for a lifetime!
See Hector's full gallery here!
Every Project Cleo family receives something extra special, a video to remember their session, and have a few extra moments of time with their beloved Pet. It is one of my favorite things to create, and I love capturing the special moments when families think I am just snapping another image!
I just want to hug Clara and Roo a little tighter.
They are amazing people to have given Hector seven years of just pure love!
So many of you have been asking, how do I do this, I want to get involved! I want you to get involved! If you would like to use Project Cleo as inspiration, please do! Link our page, share our page! I would prefer you chose a different name! Choose what inspires you, everyone has their own story! Project Cleo is still like a newborn baby to me. I am still figuring out things every day! Maybe we can all grow and learn together! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
Does your family need a session with Project Cleo? Contact us here!
Make a donation to Project Cleo Today!