Sam’s session almost didn’t happen.

Our family almost didn’t have the session with Ann. We are so glad we did. We lost our 13 year old lab Sam 4 weeks after our session and we would have missed out on the keepsakes we will cherish forever.

-Dan Sternberg

I first met Sam back in 2010, when he was just a few months old. He had found his forever family and was settling in. His years were filled with going on long walks with his mom, hunting with his dad, playing with his humans and eventually a new yellow lab puppy he’d have to share his space with.

Puppy Sam in 2010

Fast forward to 2022.

When I saw Sam in October, he reminded me so much of my Sadie, who we lost in 2020. He had slowed down quite a bit and his face was more white. But he was still the sweet Sam I remembered.

We had planned for a session with him and his much younger sister, Finley.

Sam and his mom walked all the way to the park that I had scoped out earlier that day.

He ran. He played. He shined.

Something I noticed was the way his humans looked at him. It was with much love and joy, although there was hurt inside, knowing Sam’s days were getting closer to an end.

But on that day, it was all about celebrating what a dog Sam was. (And when Sam was tuckered out, his sister, Finley, had her shot with frisbee catching over and over and over and over!)

A few days after, I shared the gallery of images with Sam’s family. I heard a lot of awes & laughter as well as saw some teary smiles. They were so happy that they didn’t wait any longer to get pictures of him.

Four weeks later I received this text:

“We had to put Sam down today.”

And then came my tears. Tears because I know the pain. Tears because I knew how special Sam was (They all are, aren’t they?). Tears because it just sucks.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.

-Agnes Sligh Turnbull

One thing Sam’s family was so grateful for were the images from Sam’s session. It’s bittersweet, though. They see their Sam having his best day. But now he was gone.

Everyone grieves differently—and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel all the feels. When you love something so much, it hurst even more.

Now let’s smile looking at some of Sam’s images where he’s with his best people, running, sniffing, and doing what a dog does.

Rest in peace, Sam. 🐾

Sam, the best boy.

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