Minnesota-based photographer Eva Hagel is selflessly offering her time behind the lens to pet owners mourning the impending loss of their beloved animals. The emotional photo sessions are free of charge, focusing more on helping the humans process their pain and create tangible memories.
Known as Project Cleo, it”s named in honor of Hagel”s own boxer pup who she suddenly lost to cancer about a year ago. The heartbreak she felt was even worse when she realized how few pictures she had of Cleo, and even less of the two together.
So now Hagel helps others in the same unfortunate position make sure they have one last chance to forever capture the bond between them and their four-legged family members.
The bittersweet photo sessions are cathartic and emotional for everyone involved.
Hagel says she can”t help herself from tearing up on her way home from each session.
After his rescue from infamous NFL player Michael Vick”s dog fighting ring in 2007, this pit bull named Hector gained a large public following on Facebook with his new family.
But when he was diagnosed with cancer, his humans wanted something more personal to hold on to after he was gone. Something that reflected their time together as a family, which Hagel was happy to provide.
While she snaps away, Hagel encourages the families to relax and snuggle up with their pets.
“Above all,” she tells Huffington Post, “sessions should be about joy and happiness.”
Coming across another boxer can make the sessions even more emotional for Hagel, but she remains driven to ease the pain for the owners.
(via Huffington Post)
So far, she has done sessions for seven families in her area. Donations help keep the families from dealing with the expense during their emotional time, and you can contribute by visiting Hagel”s website.
You can also follow on Facebook for more touching photo sessions as she continues the altruistic project.
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