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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

english mastiff in the wildflowers | burlington, ontario pet photographer

Meet big man Bo — talk about slobbery, jowly cuteness! Bo is a six-year-old English mastiff and easily the largest dog that I've had in front of my camera (the mastiff is actually the largest breed in terms of mass, but wolfhounds and great danes are taller). He holds senior status for his breed and his eyesight isn't too good. His sniffer works just fine though — I'm pretty sure he could he could sniff out a carrot (one of his favourite foods) from miles away! He is the epitome of a gentle giant, and is very sweet, calm and affectionate.

He is totally secure in his masculinity too, and didn't mind posing among the wildflowers, head tilt included.
mastiff in flowers
Mastiff dog in flowersDog on trail
Dog and woman on trail
Bo deserves a big paws-up for recently losing about 20 lb, making him a svelte 230 lb. It probably helps that his favourite foods include yogurt and oranges, which he expects you to share slice for slice.

I've never fed a hippo, but I imagine the experience must be similar to feeding Bo a carrot.
dog eating carrot
dog in field
dog and man in field
dog with man and woman
Funny, and slightly embarrassing tidbit about this session: I usually show up with treats in my bag and one of Chloe's water bottles to keep the dogs hydrated and happy. I knew Bo was big, but I wasn't quite prepared for his size. It was clear that my little water bottle was inadequate when Bo's mom pulled out a two-litre jug of bottled water for him. Bo does not travel lightly!

Thank you Bo (and Bo's tongue) and Lisa for helping me test out this new location on a hot summer day! I will be using this little gem of a spot again.


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Monday, July 23, 2012

bloggers unite for dog rescue | ontario pet photographer

Today is Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue, an online event to stress the importance of dog rescue. Millions of dogs are euthanized each year  — MILLIONS. One of the main reasons is because not enough people are adopting dogs through local rescue groups and shelters. Also, many people underestimate the the time and dedication it takes to become a responsible pet owner, and surrender their dogs, or worse.

Local rescue organizations consist of volunteers who help by fostering dogs in their own homes while they search for permanent placement, taking dogs to adoption events, fundraising to cover medical and boarding costs, to name a few.  Most rescue groups do not have the luxury of people dedicated to promoting their efforts on a large scale.

To help raise awareness, today's post is a peak into what goes on behind the scenes at the shelter I volunteer at — the Burlington Humane Society. Although most of the pets that pass through here are cats, there are many dogs that have been cared for here and have gone on to find forever homes. There are so many tasks that must take place for BHS to run smoothly — things like laundry (those cat and dog beds need to be washed!), doing the dishes (those bowls need to be cleaned!), bathing the animals, administering medication, hand-feeding kittens if necessary, and lots and lots of paperwork.
animal shelter
animal shelter
All of the hard work and dedication of the staff and MANY volunteers is all for one purpose: so animals — dogs and cats alike — such as Duncan here find forever homes.
cat in carrier
Duncan is on his way to his new home!
Also a paws up to the ordinary people who give what they can and donate to the shelter. These donations help provide daily necessities for all the residents — this place runs because of you!
Right now BHS is caring for Weego — a fantastic friendly fellow. If you know someone looking to add to their family with a four-legger, please spread the word and help him find a home! 
BHS is one of many local organizations making a difference in animal lives. A few others I have dontated my time to include the Milton Animal Sanctuary and The Dog Rescuers Inc. If you are looking for a way to help dogs who can't help themselves, please look into all of these groups — they are doing great work and saving one dog's life at a time. Here are a few other things you can do TODAY to help:
  • Adopt a four-legged companion from a local shelter or rescue organization
  • Donate to a local shelter
  • Foster a dog or cat
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue organization
  • Share this post and encourage others to participate!


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

a family cottage vacation in muskoka | ontario pet photographer

Last week we packed up our Mazda3 hatchback — like, REALLY packed it up — and headed north to Ontario's Muskoka region for a cottage vacation. It was our first real trip with a toddler and it was a totally different kind of "vacation" than what we were used to! There were a few obstacles, but in the end we had a great time. We had perfect weather, a beautiful lake to swim in and the gorgeous backdrop of Muskoka to enjoy. Plus, no Internet, no cell phone and seven full days of wet-dog smell!

On day two of our trip, a pipe burst in the cottage and we were without water for more than a day. Next came the excavation of the backyard to fix the pipe, which was not exactly the peaceful, relaxing retreat we were hoping for. But it all got repaired and our week ended on a happy note. Here are a few snapshots of our vacation taken on our iPhone — it was our go-to "camera" for most of the trip.

We've been renting a cottage in Muskoka for the past three years. It's one of my favourite ways to vacation, plus we can bring the dog. Here are just a few of the highlights from this trip and why we keep going back!

1. The Moose 99.5.
We listened to this local radio station on and off for the entire week and I don't think I heard the same song twice. I will be tuning in online!

2. The general stores.
I love general stores and this region has some fantastic ones! Many date back to the turn of the century, and have been in the same family for generations. They are full of character (and are often run by characters!) and it takes you back to a more simple time. I love being able to rent a video, buy construction adhesive and a watermelon all in one place that has history to boot.
The Rosseau General Store dates back to 1874.
The Raymond General Store welcomes Nana and Papa — love it!

3. Butter tarts at Schat Bakery and Café in cute downtown Huntsville, and a Muskoka Maple or Loon Call coffee (fresh from the Muskoka Roastery) at Seven on Main, which is just up the street. This is a great way to start a day of shopping and antiquing!
Mmmm .... butter tarts.

4. Simply Cottage in Bracebridge. I could LIVE in this store.
Simply Cottage is in an amazing old foundry building and full of antique and new items for that cottage vibe.

5. The pet-friendly attitude. All the stores have posters in the windows not only reminding patrons to not to leave their pets in hot cars, but welcoming four-leggers into the stores. The beach that our cottage shared with a handful of others was pet-friendly too, and all the vacationers were happy to share the sand and water with the pooches. Back home it's pretty much impossible for us to find a place for Chloe to swim, which makes us sad because Chloe seriously loves to swim.

Where are your favourite places to go on vacation? Have you gone on a getaway this summer?


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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

celebrating 20 years of scruffy | burlington pet photographer

The end of a pet's life is such a difficult, emotional time. Each person's experience is unique, since each person's pet is special and the bond they share is so personal. It is a heartbreaking time. But when a client contacts me to capture the last days, and sometimes hours, of their pet's life, I feel so privileged — privileged to meet such an important member of their family, even if it's just for a short time, and honoured they would invite me into their lives during such a personal experience. It is so meaningful. And even though it's hard for me, too — there are always tears shed in the car on the way home — I just love being able to capture such poignant memories.

Amanda got in touch with me to book a Celebration Session for her cat Scruffy. These sessions are for terminally ill or elderly pets where time is of the essence. Scruffy was 20 years old — the oldest cat I've ever photographed — and had cancer. After booking the appointment, Amanda called a few days later to let me know Scruffy had taken a turn for the worse. An hour after speaking with her, I was on her doorstep with my camera.

Two days after our session, Scruffy passed away peacefully with Amanda by his side. After sharing two decades together, these two had a very special relationship. And despite his frailty and heavy medications that he was on, I saw glimpses of how Scruffy must have been during healthier days. His personality was still there.

Orange cat.
orange cat and woman
orange cat and woman
orange cat
cat paws
orange cat and woman.
This is one of Scruffy's favourite places — laying under the canopy of the hosta in the backyard.
orange cat
orange cat
cat paw.
orange catorange cat and woman
orange cat

Amanda ordered a beautiful 10x10 photo book with lots of images of Scruffy to remember him by. I say it over and over, but pet photography is so important — make sure you capture memories of your four-leggers while you can! Now everybody please go hug your pet!

Amanda, thank you so much for trusting me to capture such a precious time for you. And old Scruff man, even though you are no longer with us, it was truly lovely to meet you. You brought lots of happiness into Amanda's life for 20 years!


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