• ... 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 trusty sidekicks. For more details on illona and the mcscruffies, 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 (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)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.

happy valentines, Bob!

Ophelia loves you …


this shoot was a surprise valentine’s present, so … surprise, Bob!


Ophelia is a five-year-old Portuguese water dog whose love for her toys and ball is outmatched only by her love for her owners, Barb and Bob.



on a cold afternoon last week we hit a small trail and let Ophelia fly … and pose …


and Ophelia is quite the poser.


… and a catcher …

… and a poser …


and did i say she was a poser?



to be honest, it was hard to get shots of this girl where she wasn’t posing, but i got a few. :)





and for those who are curious and who have asked me in the past via emails or on the blog … yes, not every dog can be safely let off leash during a shoot.  as a result, i always carry a 60′ light climbing line for safety.  and yes, it is removed in post-process when prints and products are ordered.  that’s why you don’t often seen me removing leashes and lines in blog entries … it can be a lot of work and it can’t possibly done on every photo.  i removed the line from most of Ophelia’s blog images, but not all.



oh, and Bob, someone was on your bed while you were at work … just warning you.  but honestly, i got the distinct feeling she’d been up there before. ;)


thanks, Barb and Ophelia, for a fun afternoon. see you soon at your studio consult.



Sandy & Ryker - That tail looks like it came off another dog!

Lysandra - What wonderful pictures! She is beautiful!

Mary & Phil - What a wonderful dog Ophelia is! Great fun!

Jan - Those are absolutely fabulous shots. . . What a ham! Thanks for sharing!

Petra - :) Makes my day.

Ashley - Beautiful series. I love that 2nd shot…and the tongue shot!

Liz - Such fun photos!!

tee4tia - wonderful photos. I’m in love with this porty.

Margaret - Illona: Absolutely fabulous pictures of Ophelia! What a poser (I think you might’ve mentioned that), and what a gorgeous dog!!! Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!

And I agree, she looks like that wasn’t her first time on the bed. Just sayin’.

tough times

we’ve had a tough week here at scruffy dog headquarters, with some pretty tough diagnoses.

as some of you already know, old scruffy morley — adopted at 9 years of age and now an energetic 14 1/2 — has lost the sight in one eye and is gradually losing the other.  in spite of appointments with an ophthalmologist no exact cause was determined and it was suspected he is dealing with a brain tumor.


with no behavioral changes, however, i was determined not to believe the tumor-theory … however, last week morley had his first grand mal seizure, with several other small ones as well as facial twitches.  so yesterday he started phenobarbital in a hope to prevent any more seizures.  i may also add prednisone to the treatment plan to help shrink the suspected tumor, but i’m cautious to tax the old man’s liver too much.  so here’s to many more, seizure-free years for the sweetest of all scruffies.


8-year-old matea, my main girl, has been dealing with a rather significant case of bridging-spondylosis — a fusing of the spine.  so far it had only shown itself in passing stiffness and occasional moments of acute pain that would pass quickly. but this past sunday saw her in such excruciating pain that would not resolve and a visit to the emergency vet’s at midnight was necessary. but when a loading dose of butorphanol and metacam, along with continued tramadol, did nothing for her pain, there was concern that something more serious going on.  so … an emerg referral to the OVC (Ontario Vet College) was called in for us.  three hours monday night and 12 hours tuesday at the OVC, tests, rads, MRI and CT … initially there was the suspicion of a spinal tumor, to which i responded to the neurologist: “she doesn’t have a tumor” … it just didn’t fit with everything i’d seen over the past seven months.

as it turns out, she’s just got a really messed up spine … “benign bony overgrowth” … “chronic bony changes” … “no pathological fracture” … “exacerbated aging changes” …”chronic degenerative changes” … with the main cause of the pain originating in the bone and joint vs. nerves.  matea is past the majority of the pain for now, but will still be restricted during her course of Metacam … again, something i’m not keen on having her on long-term due to it’s potential liver damage, but there is the chance she’ll need the NSAID for the rest of her life.

so, it’s one day at a time around these parts … as we all snooze off the good drugs …


i want to thank all of my extremely supportive friends on flickr, as well as past clients who have expressed their concern, and to my very understanding current clients for their patience.  i’d also like to thank the numerous individuals who shared the waiting room with me during my 12-hours at the OVC on tuesday.  positive healing thoughts to all of your furred loved ones … and a special shout out to sweet-girl Georgia.  we’re thinking of you all.


allison f. - I’m just catching up now! My GOODness it’s been a tough haul. I know it’s upsetting and stressful and the most agonizing heartache to have the furry little ones hurting. Hang in there my friend. I’m thinking of you and the pack….

Lainer - OMG! These poor dogs are having a tough time of it. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I hope they will feel better soon.

Liz - I am so sorry to hear about this. Hugs and pets to all. We are thinking and sending good thoughts your way.

illona - thank you SO much, everyone, for your kind words and keeping us in your thoughts.

i hear about some dogs being on Metacam for years. it encourages me, even though it’s not what i want for my girl. i’ll feel better after seeing our one vet on tuesday.

as for morley … he’s having mild side-effects from the phenobarb, but he’s in pretty good spirits.

thanks again, everyone.

kenna - whatever you do is the right thing. but they both still seem great. sending good vibes your way. xo

i love that pic of her curled up on the couch. and i really love your blog format!

Jean - Both Morley and Matea are in the best of hands. Take care. Thinking of you.

Tamandra - Oh wow Ilona, I so know how you feel : ( It’s the worst feeling in the world to hear your dog screaming in pain, and you can’t alleviate it for them. I’m lucky in a way, that my dog doesn’t feel as much in his lower spine. He still gets bouts of pain randomly. I do hope you find success with acupuncture. I’m sure it helps Borias. I’m afraid of NSAIDS, too.

Natasha - Our pack here in Colorado is sending lots of positive energy to your pack! Keep the heads up, everybody!

Lynne - Oh I am so so so so sorry to hear about all of the medical doggie struggles. I am no stranger to them myself… and I know the trauma of having to go through so much to find a reason and a “cure.” My 14 year old golden, Liberty, has been on a combination of Meloxicam, Tramadol, Gabapentin, Hydomorphone, Fish Oil and Chondroitin/Glucosamine for years for her arthritis. Each attacks the pain in a different way, and I have to say, she’s doing really well. May the miracles of modern medicine work wonders for your sweeties… and you may find peace in knowing that you are being such an amazing mom for them.

Michelle - Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about all this. I hope things work out and you have lots of pain-free, happy times left with your gang.

michelle & marco - so sorry to read this… we too went through a medical nightmare with our last pet, so have some idea how it feels… Please accept our best wishes, thoughts and prayers for speedy recovery and wholeness for your loved ones.

Marci - Oh Illona, I had no idea. How very very scary for you all. Your pups have THE best mom out there. Glad you got Matea into Guelph- best place to be. I hope that you continue to see improvement in both furbabies! Sending well wishes and positive thoughts!

andrea - sophie and i continue to send positive vibes your way…we are thinking about your whole crew.

Camp Greyhound Crew - I’m so sorry you’ve all been having such a crappy time of it – we are joining everyone in sending lots of white light and healthy energy to both Matea and Morley, as well as their hoomans.

winter cat special! book now

yes, at scruffy dog photography we love cats too, even though they can sometimes be a little less cooperative than the average Rover.


and winter is a fantastic time to photograph your feline friends indoors …


with much more natural light flooding through those windows, it’s the perfect opportunity to capture wonderful natural-light images.




and honestly, it beats the heck out of freezing my fingers around the grip of a camera at -15C.   so for the next eight weeks, scruffy dog photography is offering its very first cat special!



book your feline’s photo-session to be shot before March 21st and receive a $100 worth of fine-art prints!  Yup, $100!



of course, if you have two or more cats — as with dog shoots — i always recommend the “extended Rover” to double the shoot time and, more importantly, double the finished images of your feline kids.


to book now, contact us through the website or email us (links at the top of the blog).  we’d love to meet your furry friends, and capture their nine-lives of memories for you!


we look forward to hearing from you!



leesia - LOVE these. the one in the window w/ the lens flare and the one pawing at the camera are particularly awesome. great work!

Claire - every one of these shots is fab! i love how they FEEL like winter, in the best possible, super cozy way.

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