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we can all use a little Summer ~ {Ontario pet photographer}

in the midst of winter, just after “blue Monday” — supposedly the most depressing day of the year — i figured it was time to share some Summer with everyone.  and this is Summer …

hands down, one of my most photogenic models.  i loved working with this girl.

her shoot was a bit of a squeeze-in back during one of the last glorious days in November … this is why you’re seeing her images now, in the midst of snowy weather.

because of her racing-dog past, Summer can’t be trusted off-leash, so we first headed to a ball diamond that we gated off.  this particular diamond i used years ago when first training my girl matea to be reliable off-leash, and to get her together for play dates with other dogs who weren’t reliable.  i knew this ball diamond would be awesome for Summer because of its beautiful red sand … a great compliment for this gorgeous girl.

Summer had a great time running around and stretching her legs after the long drive to scruffy dog territory, since her owners, Lisa and Ed, brought her from way up north for her shoot.

and after some much-needed refreshments …

… we headed to the red caboose at the Waterloo Central Railway station which Lisa had seen in previous SDP photoshoots.

like so many others, Summer hails from the track.  after losing her “heart dog” last April, and then four days later having to say goodbye to their other old boy, Lisa surprised everyone by going to the greyhound rescue kennel the following weekend.  of course, i know too well and first-hand how incredibly therapeutic it can be to rescue and work with a new dog in order to move past the grief of losing another.  it in no way negates that loss or diminishes what your dog meant to you or the role they played in your life, as some may think … in fact, i believe it honors them when you focus your energy, passion and love toward a new dog.

for me, i have learned so very much from each of my dogs … and it would be a disservice if i didn’t take that knowledge and wisdom, and apply it to a new rescue dog in need … in the name of all the dogs who have touched my life and will always be in my heart.  i believe it was the same for Lisa.  in fact, Lisa wrote me about Summer’s adoption: “Many people seemed to think we did it too fast, but I disagree — she is not a replacement for Rain, my heart dog, and I don’t intend her to be.  She is her own beautiful self.”

and so, that weekend, Lisa found herself at the greyhound rescue kennel, meeting one hound after the next. but, in Lisa’s words: “…only one, when loose, came to me.  She walked straight into my open arms as I sat in the barnyard and cried.  I was so very, very sad yet so incredibly happy.  This is the hound who never put herself forward and had been passed over for adoption both in Alabama and at the Canadian kennel.  She must have been waiting for me because she sure wasn’t going anywhere without me after that!”

and how beautiful is this girl?

so from the caboose, we headed to one of my favorite spots … you’ll recognize it now …

Lisa loves it when Summer’s ears are up, so there was some waiting involved for the shot below.  on the south-west side of this stand of trees is an alfalfa field, and in the fall, sometimes (and luckily often when i shoot!), the owners ride their horses in this field.  we weren’t getting what we wanted from Summer — who is actually tied to a tree in the photo — until one of the girls rode by on her horse.  yay!

of course, Summer isn’t without her phobias.  she doesn’t care for loud noises … balloons, thunder or other “popping” sounds.  well, guess what else occurs in late November?  you guessed it.  hunting season.  and although this area is safe, the sound of gun fire still carries far across the reservoir.  go figure, moments after we had Summer relaxed and interested in the horses, we heard the first distant gun blast.

and after bringing her around enough to build her confidence, we slunk out of the woods …

by the time we hit the beach, Summer was back to her old self.

such a proud girl …

and yes, she’s on one of the scruffy dog “lines” throughout this shoot.  i’ve photoshopped it out in most cases.

i have to admit, i love the colours in this shoot … so rich, yet so subtle.  one of my favorites to date.  ironic that Lisa and Bill both admit to being colour-blind.  oh well …

oh, and contrary to popular belief — yes! greyhounds can sit!

i also wanted to mention that something some of my regular blog followers may notice is the lack of the traditional, SDP white frame on the blog images in this entry.  we are soon to be overhauling the scruffy dog blog … slightly different format and platform, and new colours (to coordinate with the main SDP site and our client proofing).  the former white frame won’t work with the new, anticipated “decor”, so i’ll be phasing it out.  stay tuned for those exciting changes in the near future!

thank you, Summer, for being such an awesome model, for being so stunningly gorgeous, and for taking care of Lisa and Ed’s hearts.  Lisa and Ed, i hope you enjoy Summer’s gallery and will talk to you soon!

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  • Rich IngersollBeautiful greyhound. Beautiful storyReplyCancel

  • SusanAwesome pics and great blog and site!ReplyCancel

  • JeanI noticed this a while ago but just got around to viewing. Summer is one elegant athletic lady and has a wonderful collection of collars as she should. Lovely images Illona!ReplyCancel

  • sujawibeautiful story & dog…ReplyCancel

  • LilaIllona, these are nothing short of stunning!! Fabulous work!ReplyCancel

  • LindaWow those are all beautiful photos. Love them.ReplyCancel

  • LainerThis absolutely made my day. This dog is beautiful, and your pictures are quite lovely. Thanks so much for lifting my spirits. I needed it.ReplyCancel

  • michelle bradshawPerfection! Summer is a beautiful girl!ReplyCancel

  • Holly Garner-JacksonA wonderful series. Your words had me tearing up as I thought back to suddenly losing my heart dog and going right out to rescue another needy being. They make us whole ……. They truly do!ReplyCancel

  • JackieOhhh I just love that shot of Summer sitting by the water, BEAUTIFUL!!ReplyCancel

  • MarcAmazing work, Illona. Really wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • TeresaI have become a huge fan of yours and look forward to possibly doing a shoot with you in the near future with my 3 border collies….just wondering if the trail is in kwanis park…my family live in Waterloo, and frequent that park often for daily doggie outings.ReplyCancel

  • LeslieI think you outdid yourself here! Of course Greyhounds rock!… and Miss Summer is stunning. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • JamesInspiring! I love the live setting SO much more than the infinite white or the silly backdrop photos. Thanks for sharing what you do with these wonderful pets that give so much to us.ReplyCancel

  • LynstarFCGorgeous! Summer is so beautiful. I’d love to adopt a racing greyhound someday!ReplyCancel

  • KarenatCampGreyhoundLisa and Summer are a match made in heaven. Summer is a sweetie-pie, and Illona, you’ve done an amazing job on her photos, as usual!ReplyCancel

  • marjoWow and wow … I’ve been waiting for this blog entry since recommending SDP to Lisa, Ed and Summer … not disappointed in the least … I think you will probably be getting your largest order yet (if I know Lisa at all) … the shoot was beautiful … contrary to my wont for bright as well as heavily saturated pigments I also love the subtlety of the pics in the sand and the neutrality of the fawn Summer in the midst of all the early winter colour … BRAVA!!!ReplyCancel

  • MarlaLovely!ReplyCancel

  • TraciThese are stunning shots. What a beautiful dog and inspiring work! I wholeheartedly agree that rescues are THE best!ReplyCancel

  • JillAbsolutely beautiful! This story was so touching….got a little teary eyed at the description of Summer meeting Lisa for the first time. I’m sure there will be many years of love between humans and dog to come.ReplyCancel

  • madaboutgreysWhat a beautiful girl. And what a heartwarming story. Some dogs just know exactly who is meant to adopt them.ReplyCancel

  • AndaStunning series! Summer is such a beautiful and elegant girl, and you sure made her shine. She’s got amazing eyes.ReplyCancel

  • SarahGorgeous, as always! I think everyone reacts differently when they lose their heart dog. Not sure what I’ll do. 🙁 I’m happy to hear they found each other and a new chapter has begun.ReplyCancel

  • PatWhat a beautiful girl and beautiful pictures of her!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa B.Gorgeous! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!
    Lisa, Ed and SummerReplyCancel

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