I used to say that 50% of all the orders I receive include an animal who has ‘crossed the rainbow bridge’.
I’m finding more recently that my estimate was way off.
I now believe it’s somewhere in the realm of 80% of my portraits that include an animal who has died. That's why I wrote an article to help pet owners dealing with grief when your pet passes away.
So what has being around all of this sad and furry grief taught me?
When owners send me a picture of their pet, I always assume the pet is alive in my responses unless they say otherwise. I’ll give a genuine compliment unique to that pet.
Often, I receive a response about how they recently lost their dog or cat, but thank you for the kind words.
And it always amazes me how they can be so lovely during the grieving process, especially some people whose loss is as fresh as a few days ago.
And usually, when this happens, I look back at the interactions they had with me already, before they told me this information.
They are generally kind and open but don’t tell me this outright. Some might be short, thinking I’m a larger business (Paws for Giving is just me and Emily!). But always, when they tell me they lost their furry loved one, they soften.
I do my best to always show compassion from the start and give the benefit of the doubt to customers who are short with me. And in the end I know a pet portrait is just such a special gift for someone who has lost a pet, because they'll have a treasured keepsake to remember their furry loved one.
And of course there are other meaningful gifts that are a bit special. The kind that give back.
As my mother said to me once when I was angry at someone who made an inconsiderate move to cut her off on a highway,
“Who knows, maybe their mother just died?”
I have a new saying now:
“Who knows, maybe their pet just died?”
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