• ... 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 scruffy 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 (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)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 scruffy a beef tendon to gnaw on, and enjoy the photos and ramblin's.

keeps on ticking ~ {Toronto dog photographer}

you might remember Bridie …

you first met this feisty little girl here, three months ago, when she was in renal failure.  well, with much love and diligence on the part of owners Harriet and Tom and their vets, Bridie is still going strong.

when Harriet mentioned to me back in July that she’d like to book a follow-up shoot for Bridie after her groom at the end of August, i could hear the hesitation in her voice … after all, the end of August was a long way off.  would Bridie make it that long?  even i wondered.  but who were we kidding?!  just look at this girl.

but this shoot was on my turf … and i took Harriet and Tom and Bridie to one of my favorite spots, where everyone enjoyed themselves … most of all Bridie.

lots of new smells and new scenery …

but i think what keeps Bridie going — besides the incredible love of Harriet and Tom — is her sense of humor …

thanks for a lovely afternoon, once again, Bridie, Harriet and Tom.  i look forward to putting together Bridie’s big coffee table book soon.  give your girl a hug from me.


Linda Harris - I had the honour of being Bridie’s dogsitter when mom and dad were at work. She was one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever watched and was loved by all who met her. She loved to boss me around, loved her treats and loved sunning herself on my deck. She is missed so very much but I know firsthand what a blessed life this little sweetheart had. She was definitely one of the lucky ones. Love the pictures Ilona, you are incredible talented.

bublynski - Oh, Bridie! Cairns are my very favorite scruffy dogs, and these photos of Bridie are magnificent! I especially love the second one – stunning!

Holly Garner-Jackson - Small but mighty! Great stuff, illona!
Yeah for Bridie and her pack!

Linda - Love really does make a difference..

Tori - she looks like a puppy in these pics. love will keep her going strong. great work.

Margaret - Oh Illona, this is just great news!!! not to mention GREAT pictures of Bridie!!! What a lucky bunch that family is to have one another! 🙂

another article about vaccinations

the subject of vaccinations is one i’ll likely revisit numerous times on the blog since it’s one that comes up a lot during client shoots and via emails from fans on facebook or followers of the blog or flickr.  so when a new vaccine article came up yesterday through the Only Natural Pet Store newsletter, i thought i should share it here … (and of course, no scruffy blog entry would be complete without at least a little eye-candy) …

the latest vaccine article — The Vaccination Overview —  is written by Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM and is a must-read for any pet-owner.   it’s also been added to the The Truth About Vaccines page at the bottom of the scruffy dog blog.

the article is a great all-around overview, highlighting some of the advances made in the thinking regarding vaccination protocols … at least, advances with some vets.  For instance:

Multiple studies have shown that the vaccines for parvovirus, canine distemper, and feline panleukopenia provide extremely good, long-term protection from disease—8 to 10 years or more. This is true whether your pet received the puppy or kitten series (with the last vaccine given at or after 16 weeks of age), or for older animals after a single vaccine.

as the caretaker for your 4-legger(s) and their only voice, please take the time to educate yourself on the need for vaccines, but also the very real dangers of vaccines and over-vaccination.  as most of you already know, the original “scruffy dog” was lost at the age of only 4 years because of vaccines given at a time when he should not have received them.  as such, it is a subject very close to my heart.

and as Dr. Hofve writes:  “As much as we all love animals, nobody cares about your pet as much as you do—so it’s up to you to do the right thing!”

Note: although the Only Natural Pet Store is US based, it is a great resource for articles and information.  check it out sometime.


illona - wendy, i’m sorry, i don’t know the exact studies they are referencing … you could do some googling and see where that takes you.

holly, let us know how it goes.

sweetpea, SO glad to hear these posts have made a difference in your approach to your dog’s vaccines. if i can make even just one person question their vet’s protocol and put their dog’s health first, and – as such – potentially save a life, it’s all worth it.

just bear in mind that a lot of vets are frustratingly slow to come to this growing understanding of the dangers of vaccines and the move to less-is-more and first-do-no-harm. you might receive conflicting advice from your current vet. it has taken me several years and even more vets to find the right ‘fit’ for me and my dogs … vets who finally see the light.

Sweetpea - Oh my goodness, you are a JOYFUL voice on these vaccination issues and I am grateful that you do not let them rest!! THANK YOU for (always) including these splendiferous photos that grab my heartstrings. Want you to know that I have actively engaged in conversations with our vet about this very topic, prompted by your thought provoking posts…so,


Christi, and her Isla dawg

Holly Garner-Jackson - Thanks illona! I’m going to print this article and take it to Ralph’s vet and the vet that gave him all the vaccine’s when he was so emaciated! I’m going to call around to get prices on titering!

wendy - Thanks for that link Illona. Do you know how to find the studies that they reference?

here’s baby boy Sal ~ {Waterloo, Ontario dog photographer}

i love this boy …

of course, he’s not so “little” any more.  they grow up so quickly.

Sal belongs to Becky of Grooming with Finesse and is big brother to the three girls: Cee Cee, Viva, and Sofie. you met them from their earlier shoot.  and since their shoot incorporated the red caboose down at Waterloo Park we decided to take young Sal down there as well.

ah, so regal and proud, posing by the lake …

… or not.

Sal sure loves his big pink stuffie … racing around the park with it …

and posing with mom.

and then to the caboose for poses.  and no, we don’t beat the dogs first.  😉   i think Sal heard a sound on the platform behind him when i released the shutter and i liked his expression here.

more sounds …

thanks, Becky, for introducing me to your wonderful boy … he’s such a charmer.  i can’t wait to shoot the big lug as an adult.


Ruth - Stunning! Is he an APBT or a Cane Corso?

Jamie - gorgeous dog and gorgeous photos! 🙂

sarah - omg that is THE best “shaking” photo I’ve ever seen. His eyes!!

Holly Garner-Jackson - What a gentle brute you have there! Love the BW of him looking down. Got any shot of him with the girls? Can’t wait for his big boy session!

Becky Misener - Amazing. you captured some beauties. I love them all, now for the hard part, checking out the rest of them and making choices.

Thanks again Illona

marlesghillie - Superb looking dog (but what happened to his ears???)

Nicole Mlakar - Love this shoot. Perfect lighting and fantastic dog.

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