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this is why … ~ {Toronto dog photographer}

i’m often asked why it is i do what i do, especially after a pretty successful, twenty-year career as a novelist.  i guess there are a number of reasons, the bulk of which i won’t bore you with … but the main reason for scruffy dog photography, the purpose behind it, the passion and the mission, is dogs like Bridie …


it was touch and go whether i’d even get to meet sweet Bridie, a Cushings dog currently in renal failure.  her shoot was postponed while she was in hospital, and even once she was released i wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  i should never have doubted a terrier heart.  Bridie was a trooper throughout our extremely long shoot yesterday and last night.  with special shoots like this, i never take any chances, and since the mission of scruffy dog has always been to capture as many unique image in a variety of locations, especially with the special cases, when i know it is highly unlikely i will ever have the opportunity again, i go all out.

you will be seeing many more images from Bridie’s shoot, but she and owners Harriet and Tom have been on my mind during this difficult time (before and after the shoot) … so I wanted to share at least a couple of images for now.


you are in my hearts.  be strong for your little girl, as she is strong for you.

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  • HarrietTom and I wanted to say thank you so much to all of you who posted comments in response to Illona’s amazing shots of our Bridie. Your words have been a huge comfort. Illona was so sensitive to Bridie and her needs – Bridie really responded to Illona. Just to let you all know Bridie is holding her own and we are enjoying every moment possible with her. We are incredibly grateful to Illona for capturing our sweet and feisty girl in photos.


  • Jerry WelchNice Photos!!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry in MTYes to be sure, doG bless those strong little terriers! It brings tears to my eyes that she may not be with her owners long but I am thrilled they took the time to have the photos done by you. You have a special eye for your shots and these will be very near and dear to their hearts I am sure.ReplyCancel

  • Mirjam VisserBeautiful photos.
    I lost my dog Spock through Cushing’s. I wish Birdie and her humans well.ReplyCancel

  • Jean (allegrolhw)Both images are so captivating. Looking forward to more of Birdie and thinking of her and her folks.ReplyCancel

  • LizBeautiful images. Can’t wait for more.ReplyCancel

  • Holly Garner-JacksonSo much love is portrayed here illona. You have captured so much emotion and power in these two shots I can’t wait to see the rest of them.
    All my best to Harriet and Tom. A dog like Bridie can only bring joy and love to a family. I love the terrier heart, may it beat in your memories forever……ReplyCancel

  • wendyOh… That second photo is so touching. I love the look “mom” is giving her. You really captured the love.ReplyCancel

  • LindaWonderful shots! These will be memories captured and cherished forever.Heartfelt thoughts for all.ReplyCancel

  • Susan HumphreysThese photos of Bridie are beautiful Illona. Terriers are the best aren’t they? I love the shot on the bench. So poignant. You do suffer for your art, rolling around in goose poop!!!Much love to Bridie and her guardians.ReplyCancel

  • StephanieWhat you are doing for these folks is a precious gift……….If Only I had had this opportunity with my dear Maya…..ReplyCancel

  • ursula sooleyLove Love Love the first shot. Such a beautiful little critter. My heart goes out to her guardians.ReplyCancel

  • VickiI really love the photo of her on the bench, beautiful. Sending along my best wishes to Birdie 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Vicky (tv writer)I’m so glad you were there to capture this outing..and that she rebounded with enough energy for the shoot.
    Sweet sweet dog.. I love that top one, and how your really low perspective makes her look like the queen she no doubt is!
    Big dog slobbery kisses from my two boys to her humans Harriet and Tom.ReplyCancel

  • kristinai’m not a fan of those terrierist lol but what a sweetie good vibes for her ownersReplyCancel

  • MargaretPoor Bridie – the Cushings and the renal failure. 🙁 But having just spent a couple days with my aunt and uncle, and their Cairn Terrier, my thoughts and understanding of the terrier heart are rejuvenated. Theirs (Lucy) is 11 and doesn’t show any signs of aging, except a few gray hairs on her chin, and a slightly more calm demeanor than when she was a youngster. Otherwise, she’s as spunky and filled with Terrier-ness as ever! GREAT little dog!!! I hope Bridie and her people enjoy every minute they have together (as I suspect they will)!!!ReplyCancel

  • bublynskiI love what you said about a terrier heart. Bridie’s got it, that’s for sure! My heart goes out to Harriet and Tom… I know what they’re going through.ReplyCancel

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