The Tilly Project is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to connect pet owners with end-of-life pet photographers across the world and to provide accessible, educational, and supportive resources for photography, anticipatory grief, and pet loss/bereavement.
What We Do
Founded in 2021 by Lauren Kennedy, the Tilly Project is an organization which has several goals:
- To create an online platform/community which connects clients seeking end-of-life pet photography services with a photographer who offers them.
- To provide educational photographic tutorials for individuals + veterinary staff when a professional photographer isn’t an option.
- To provide educational and supportive resources for pet owners who are living with anticipatory grief, and pet loss/bereavement.
In May of 2021, founder Lauren Kennedy was contacted by a friend on facebook asking: “I have a friend who needs to put her dog down and wants to find a nice urn at a good price- do you know of any places she can check out?” Lauren, who currently works for a wildlife rehabilitation center and has been involved in animal rescue for nearly her whole life, frequently gets asked questions about animals. With her background in photography, she decided to offer something else- free end-of-life pet photography for the family.
Pet loss and grief was nothing new to Lauren. In 2018 she tragically lost her soulmate in the form of a little orange cat- Tilly. The importance of honoring a pet AND making it accessible for all was something very important to her.
After the session, Lauren posted the photos (with permission) on her personal facebook page and tiktok. The response was overwhelming and it became quickly apparent that this service was very much needed. In fact, it was SO needed, that Lauren began receiving hundreds of messages a day.
So if she couldn’t photograph all of these beautiful families- how could she help? And how could she provide resources specific to pet owners surrounding grief? She created a facebook group to allow networking for clients seeking the service and photographers who offer it, and frequently put the call out for other photographers who offer this service- to compile into an ever-growing list of over 300+ photographers across the WORLD! And thus, the Tilly Project was born.
About the Founder
Lauren Smith Kennedy currently resides in South Portland, Maine with two of her best friends; 4-year-old adorable ginger cat named Percy. If there is one thing to know, it’s that Lauren loves animals…all of them. Lauren works for Saco River Wildlife Center as their Director of Development where she focuses on fundraising, donor relations, and occasionally wrangling a raccoon or two! As stated in the section above, Lauren is no stranger to pet loss + love. She believes soulmates can take the form of a furry little friend, and that those lives are just as important to honor.