DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Dearborn-based young woman, Julia Earhart, is making a difference in the community by capturing special moments of people with their terminally ill furry friends.
The 24-year-old provides the service for free as she believes photographs are one of the best ways to remember loved ones when they are gone.
One of her recent clients includes the Wilson family, who have a 12-year-old Golden Retriever called Cooper.
For Jessica and Bryan Wilson, Cooper is like their third son.
“He has just been the best family dog, just really protective of the boys, likes to be really close to us all the time, he really important part of the family,” said Jessica Wilson.
At first, the Wilsons might look like a complete happy family, but the reality is they are bracing themselves for a significant loss.
Cooper has a maximum of nine months to live as he struggles with lung cancer.
“My husband and I are pretty sad about it. We noticed things more than they do about his declining health and how rapidly it’s declining, I think it will hit the kids more the first day when he is gone than when they come home from school , and he is not there when they wake up in the morning, and he is not lying by their bed,” said Wilson.
This is where Julia Earhart steps in. A recruiter by profession but a photographer at heart, Earhart is helping capture lasting memories for the Wilsons to remember Cooper when he is gone.
“Knowing that I was able to provide someone such a special gift for them to hold on to for as long as they choose to, it really means a lot,” says Earhart.
One of the biggest motivators for Julia to do this is because she has two dogs of her own.
“It’s hard for me to put myself in their shoes at times,” said Earhart. “Which kind of makes these sessions a little bit more emotional for me as well, to imagine that the day I might need this service.”
Earhart averages about five to ten sessions per month. Each session lasts around half an hour, and pet owners receive up to 30 retouched images.
Meanwhile, for the Wilsons, this will be the best gift they’ve ever received.
“It is hard to put into words how special this will be for our family,” said Wilson. “Like I said, Cooper is just like one of our kids, and so be able to memorialize him in this way is really nice, something outside the pictures I take on my phone all the time.”
If you want to create lasting memories of your pet, Julia recommends contacting her as soon as possible because she would like to capture those moments when the pet is in good spirits.
Julia can be reached on Instagram @photographybyjuliamarie or through her website www.photosbyjuliamarie.com.