• ... 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 (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)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.

the burgess dogs

this entry is a little late … it’s hard to keep up and unfortunately not every shoot ends up on the blog … but i’ve been meaning to share these two for a while.

meet Laser …


… and Crystal.


and don’t let those white hairs fool you … she can keep up with wild brother Laser just fine.



these two crazy dogs belong to vet Lisa Burgess, who takes care of my girl matea and her acupuncture needs.  you can find Dr. Burgess’s link at the bottom of the blog.  during our lovely fall outing with dogs and kids, i had a blast with the entire pack, even though at times i didn’t know which way to point my lens, there was so much going on.  because of privacy issues, i’m sharing with you here only the dog segment of the shoot … and Laser had antics enough to keep us all entertained.  from fetching potatoes in the recently plowed field …


… to soaring over the yet-to-be-harvested soy bean fields.



Crystal was a doll … keeping me company on the deck afterwards …


… and even getting a little playful.



even wild-man Laser enjoyed some quiet time …


but mostly, Laser was all about his boy …


i loved watching these two interact …


thanks, Lisa, and thanks kids … and Laser and Crystal … for a very memorable afternoon.  see you soon!


nick - I love all those big open fields as the backdrop.. That playbow shot is too cute!!

illona - thanks, meredith. but actually, that’s a potato not a ball! he found it in the field and decided to take it with him. apparently Laser likes potatoes. :)

Meredith Ramsay - These are soooo amazing! The one with the ball is great!

two new pages on the scruffy dog blog – NUTRITION & VACCINES

as some of you already know, the scruffies (and the not so scruffy Aslan) — being true carnivores — have been thriving on a natural, species-appropriate diet for almost 7 years now.  this undertaking is not done lightly.  it is well-researched, carefully planned out, analyzed, and — as such — is respected by my vets.  they see the health in my dogs.


raw-feeding is just one of the several dog-related topics that frequently come up in conversation during a lot of the scruffy dog photoshoots, and i do my best to educate based on my experience and my research.  however, because of a recent rash of inquiries into raw feeding as well as the potential dangers of vaccinations, i’ve added two new pages to the scruffy dog blog.

i simply can’t respond to everyone’s inquiries and often i feel as though i’m spinning why wheels trying to supply different individuals with the same information over and over again to start them on feeding a species appropriate diet or helping them understand vaccinations.


so, the pages are up … and they can be found at the bottom of the blog under the “about” column. or you can follow these links:


the truth about VACCINES

i hope this helps at least a few people get started on the right road.  YOU are your dog’s advocate, their voice and their guardian.  no one cares more deeply for your dog than you do, so why should you put their well-being and life in the hands of others without researching first? know the facts. take control of your dog’s health.


Carolyn - I’m so thrilled to see someone getting this message across. My pup was over-vaccinated so I recently started educating myself on the whole vaccine issue. I found a wonderful vet (Dr. Beltran) who supports my thinking. I want to switch my dogs over to a species appropriate diet but I found myself having a lot of questions so I formed a yahoo group in the hopes of attracting some knowledgeable Ottawa raw feeders. Here’s the link if anyone is interested in joining. I sure could use all the advice I can get!


Liz - I am linking to this from my Ottawa Dog Blog. Someone wrote an article about feeding raw and it was very well received – I’ve linked in the comments to this blog post as well as your page as a great resource. :)

C. Carter - THANK YOU! I really appreciate you taking the time to post this very valuable information!!

kiera – love this girl!

meet doodle Kiera …


you’ve already met her in her sneak peek, but here she is in all her scruffy glory.



for having severe hip dispylsia, this wild girl can move.


on a gorgeous november afternoon, we had a splendid walk out in Elmira. i love when clients find awesome locations with a variety of backdrops, from grasses …


to a beach …


and forest paths …


and lots of room to run.


i loved working with Kiera and her mom, Karen … lots of great conversation and a most accommodating model.



she only pretends to be bashful.


Karen and Kiera make an awesome team …


even when Kiera was modeling for me and lavishing me with all that scruffy love, she still kept an eye on mom.


and the little beach was fantastic … one of my favorite backdrops, where dogs can really be dogs …





just a  fun-loving, easy-going girl …






thanks, Karen and Kiera, for a fabulous afternoon.  i hope you enjoy your images.



tee4tia - these are stunning images. if it weren’t for the mileage, how I would love for you to photograph my spoos. Maybe one day.

nick - Whoa a beautifully scruffy session indeed :D SCruffy dogs + shaking = awesome haha

illona - thank you so much, everyone, for your visits and comments. this girl is still very much on my mind … such a wonderful dog.

[MoGi] - What an awesome shoot Ilona! I just love how you’ve captured the intense bond between kiera and karen, but the photos are all so incredibly well shot.I bow my head.

andrea - such beautiful shots…love the colours and tones! the close-up of her eye is stunning! great job as usual, illona. :)

Christina - Elbow out with the piano in the background. Priceless! What a beauty!

Margaret - YOu’d sure never know about the hip dysplasia. What a wonderful set of pictures, and a wonderful dog!!! She and her person obviously adore one another. :)

Anda - WOW Illona – these are amazing! I love the one where Kiera’s sitting on the hardwood floor in the house, the tones and light are fabulous! And the walk in the forest next to Karen – wow!

You are such an inspiration for all of us who love to photograph our canine companions.

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