Victorian post mortem photography may seem strange, but for some families it was their only opportunity to have a memento of their loved one as photography was expensive at the time. Sometimes the dead were posed as if alive and sometimes are of children and babies due to the high death rate among this group at the time.
I am particularly touched by the depth of love shown to deceased pets. Although the process was quite cheap to photographers once albumen prints came about, the cost to the customer was still quite high for the service of a photographer. Pet Momento Mori are pretty rare. I love that he is holding the pups paw.