• ... home of Ontario's premier pet photographer. This is where the photos of scruffy dog photography meet the heart and soul behind all of those fun and wacky photo shoots and the long hours in the digital darkroom ... a behind-the scenes peek into the zany life of a pet-exclusive photographer and her two ... now THREE trusty sidekicks. For more details on illona and the mcscruffies and the newest mcruffles cat, check out the "about" section.

    What you will find here is the past several years of blog entries -- selected client shoots, sneak peeks, facebook recaps, news and announcements, promos and specials, as well as info on canine health and general dog chat. (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)

    So, grab a cup of jo, give your scruffnut a beef tendon to gnaw on, and enjoy the photos and ramblin's.

there’s something you should know about Olive …

so this is Olive …


and what you should know about Olive is that she’s not a Newfoundlander.


even though she does like water.


so here’s the story.  Olive here is my first client for whom a session was purchased before she was even born.  but back then, Kristin and Dan were convinced they were destined for a little black newfoundlander fur ball … however, with springer spaniels already in the family, the hunting-dog fever had already begun to fester and, “Olive” became a sprocker.



oh, and what’s a “sprocker”?  why, a springer/cocker, of course! … a pointing, running, swimming, fetching fool.


as per the usual scruffy dog shoots, i strive for a huge variety of settings, light, colour, and texture … so we set off to the conservation area where i never saw such green in my life.  as an exclusively pet-photographer and shooting mostly dogs, i must admit, i get a little sick of green.  any opportunity to shoot anything besides grass is always a thrill for me, but this grass was a green i seriously can’t describe other to say it was the freshest green i’d ever seen and it matched Olive’s collar stunningly.


but again, variety for me is the key, so on we marched, throughout the conservation area looking for more interesting textures and colours …



and – most of all – fun for olive to get into …



and i should mention that this 8-month-old girl NEVER stopped.  where some of these photos might look like she’s standing still, look more closely … see the tags?  she is a constant, whirling dirvish.


moving, moving, moving …


even here … not truly still …



and moving …


and to get baby Olive to finally sit still, we had to tie her up.  for those who email me privately to ask, yes, i DO remove leashes and long lines from images, but i do so only with images which go to print.



other times, for a still shot of Olive, the promise of my “magic” treats was required.


and on the way home we simply had to stop by the Gryphon’s stadium wall for a few shots.  i think she was finally just a wee bit tired.


of course, at home, greeted by Olive’s housemate, i simply had to catch a few shots of kitty …



thanks Olive and Kristin and Dan for a very fun shoot and a splendid afternoon.  and thank you so much for your gracious patience as the preparations for Woofstock pushed back the finish-date for your images.  i hope you love Olive’s final images as much as i loved working on them, and i look forward to seeing you both again at the studio consult!  give that girl a snorgle for me!


and for those of you who stopped by Woofstock this weekend, you will recognize Olive from our main table-signage …



alexa - I LOVE the one of her in front of the trees! Gorgeous. :) What a fun little girl! Looks like she really kept you on your toes. Awesome work as always.

Kristin and Dan (Olive's parents) - Needless to say Illona, that you have not heard from us yet cause we have been so busy ADMIRING Olive’s photos!
Everytime I go online to email you back, we get stuck looking at the gallery. Everyone is so right, you captured her personality to a tee! We are having the HARDEST time picking out photos, but we will be in touch soon to discuss prints.
All I can say to everyone is, you MUST meet a sprocker! They are so special!

Sara - I get such a strong sense of Olive’s personality in each photo. And I love the kitty pics!

Ruth - Gah, you never fail to amaze me! I agree with the comment above, I’d want to buy every one of them if she was my dog!!

toxeh - What a BEAUTIFUL dog. Those eyes stand out so well against her fur. I’m a huge spaniel fan, love to see this one living up to her breed(s.)

I always adore the scenery you pick for your photos – like those faint pinkly flowered trees – wow! And the red wall.

Gorgeous series.

illona - thank you so much, everyone, for your kind words.

Meaghan, i’m dying to meet your springers … and, of course, being field-trained, they’d be a joy to work with.

thanks again, everyone. i’m still waiting to hear from Dan and Kristin. :) i’m sure they’re loving all of your wonderful comments.

LynstarFC - These photos are just beautiful! I think my favorite is the one with Olive and the pretty pink trees behind her. Olive is WAY too cute and I’m seriously tempted to dognap her! :-)

Julianna Koh - Man, these are awesome photos – it was ‘WOW’ all the way through the post!
Beautiful brown eyes Olive has.

Holly Garner-Jackson - OMD Illona these are great as usual. I love the one of Olive sitting in front of the red wall. Her expression and the way she is sitting is hilarious!
The eyes of that cat are amazing!
Well done!

diem - Great pics! Love the one with the big stick and where Olive is scouting out the ducks. Classic!

Jean - Oh WOW! Illona these are amazing! Olive is such an expressive character and you caught her brilliantly and I’m not just saying so cuz I luvs Springers :)

Utski - Incredible photos! Olive is so adorable and you managed to capture in so many excellent poses and expressions.

tee4tia - Wow, Illona, you really captured this high-spirited beautiful girl in all her glory. If Olive was mine, I would cover my wall with everyone of these images. Fantastic!

Jessica - I think Olive is adorable and the way you captured her personaility, it’s amazing. :)

Sarah - Awesome collection of Olive. I love the one with the pink flowers in the background, looks so nice with her colouring.

Meghan - Hey Illona – the pictures of Olive look amazing! Great job! Perhaps I’m biased, but I think that was a fantastic wedding present 😛
I just need to get my springers – Olive’s cousins – booked in sometime!!

Woofstock, here we come!

i’ve been a dreadfully behind on blog entries and am very grateful for such patient clients who are waiting in the wings for their proofing galleries, understanding that to put a show like Woofstock together can take a little bit of organization.  but with mere hours left, i thought i’d better take a little time out and at least put a heads-up on the blog about this weekend …


yeah, the weather-forecast isn’t shaping up to be the best, with st. lawrence market promising to smell like a whole lotta wet dog this weekend.  but hey, time to try out that funky doggy rain gear you spent money on and never really put to use, right?  or better yet, buy some down at Woofstock!

Woofstock grows and grows each year, with tons of vendors.  if you need to be convinced to come on down, check out the Woofstock website and see what it’s all about … something for everydog!!

and if you need even more convincing, how about this?


and there’s more!  yeah, MORE.  we’re no slouchers!  this Woofstock weekend only, scruffy dog is offering a very special Woofstock package of the usual 2-3 hour Regular Rover shoot and a print/product package that includes a gallery canvas-wrap, coffee-table photo book, too many professional prints to list and more, at a savings of 55% !  but, you’ve got to come down to Woofstock to take advantage of it.

so brave the weather!!  come on by!!  the scruffy dog booth is located down near the intersection of Scott and Front Streets, facing south and the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

my staff and i will be there to answer all of your questions and meet your wonderful pooches … we have a ton of photos and products on display, and yeah, i’ll have my cameras.

hope to see you there!!!


Holly Garner-Jackson - Hey girl!!! Good luck to you. I know how hard you’ve been preparing for this extravaganza! I hope it exceeds your wildest expectations. You and your cameras rock.




karen - I hope the rain holds off for you. Have a great time.

Tori - Hey Girl! Good Luck tomorrow!! I wish I could be there it looks like a real blast. Rain would not keep me away. Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

tee4tia - Darn, I was in TO last weekend. I just know it will be a great success for you. Wish we were there too.

Darlene - Good Luck…..

I don’t know about back east, but out here on the Wet Coast, a little bad weather doesn’t stop us at all, if it did we would never get out of our houses, except for our 2 weeks of summer.

I hope this is hugely successful for you and Scruffy Dog.

gearing up for Woofstock!

although we’ve wanted to attend in previous years, scheduling has never allowed us.  but this year scruffy dog will be at Woofstock!


and we’re pretty psyched!!

for those who can attend — JUNE 12/13 — we’d love to see you and your four-leggers!

for past scruffy clients, you might even find yourself on “the wall” or in one of the studio photo books!   so stop in.  browse the pretty pics.  chat a bit.  have a biscuit (graciously provided by The Barkery in Stratford).  and if you like, book a scruffy dog Woofstock special.

there’s definitely something for everyone at Woofstock … make a day of it.  heck, make a weekend of it.  either way, we’d love to see you there!


andrea - sophie and i will stop by at woofstock!! :) so glad you are going to be there!! :)

Holly Garner-Jackson - Love this part of your display, illona. I really wish I could come. It looks like it would be a blast. Hope you get more clients than you ever dreamed of and maybe a few new commercial gigs, too! Good luck!!

illona - seriously?! no dock diving?! i can’t believe that, Jen. they’ve had it previous years, and since Woofstock only gets bigger, i’m surprised they’re not having it this year.

well, that sucks.

Jennifer - What FUN….but I noticed….no dock diving? what kind of event leaves out dock diving? :) Blue refuses to go.

Maybe I can make it next year, looks like fun.

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