• Based in the Kitchener, Ontario, the award-winning scruffy dog photography inc. is the province's premier pet photographer, serving clients across Ontario, the US and internationally since 2007, photographing exclusively animals both commercially and for private clients.

    To learn more about the scruffy dog experience, its creator and history, as well as how YOUR scruffy can become a part of the SDP family, feel free to browse through the menu above, and scroll through a decade's worth of blog entries below!

    Please drop us a line! We'd love the opportunity to capture stunning, creative, one-of-a-kind photographic memories of your 4-legged loved ones to treasure in artwork for a lifetime, and show you just what makes the scruffy dog experience second to none.

Skye ~ DOGS WE’VE LOVED ~ Brampton pet photographer photo series

Meet Skye … another entry in the special Dogs We’ve Loved series.  This is a special photo series that pays tribute to those dogs whom we’ve loved in life and continue to love beyond, who live on in our memories, in our hearts, our souls, and through the very important photos we create of them. You can see other entries in the Dogs We’ve Loved series here.

Skye’s Honor Session was booked by her mom, Anita, who – like most scruffy dog clients – chose to bring her girl here to the Land of Scruffy for an adventurous and fun afternoon … and evening, as the case was for Skye’s session.

Like a surprising number of clients who book with me, Anita informed me that Skye could be a little camera shy.  But as I tell all clients who worry about this: “Nada problem!”  As you can see from the photos from our session, Skye and I ironed things out pretty quickly on that front!

This girl was so happy, and the bond with her mom was undeniable.

And like many clients of mine, Anita didn’t want to be in the photos … yet, this photo of Skye in the crown vetch with Anita smiling in the background is probably one of my favorites from their session.

It shouldn’t surprise you that I hear from Anita occasionally.  She misses her girl, and I am much too familiar with that loss.  Anita writes:

“I am missing Skye so much these days, I often hear her collar jingle in the house and I look up and turn my head and I swear I see her standing there and looking at me, smiling. This happens often.  And, I also sometimes doze off on the couch and automatically wake up about the time I would always take her for her last late night walk, I go as far as grabbing her leash, only to realize she’s not here. It has been very difficult as I know you know all too well.”

“Skye was 14 years old at the time of our session in June 2016. At that time, she was starting to show signs of slowing down with arthritis but still managed to have some pep in her step. Since I first saw your work, 4-5 years prior to the shoot, I decided right there and then that it was something I was going to do that with Skye. It had been what I had been searching for — a photographer that could capture the essence of my beloved dog’s personality so that when the time came I would have her close with me always.  Although my intentions never changed in that time, for one reason or another, I just couldn’t make it happen until last year.”

“I was grateful to finally have the session because only 8 months after her session and a couple of weeks after her 15th birthday on Valentine’s Day, Skye was diagnosed with kidney disease. Not only that, her kidney values changed so drastically from her most recent test from last fall, that she was diagnosed with going into renal failure. I was told by two vets that she was not going to be with me much longer. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I spent the next 5 weeks doing anything in my power to help her.  It was clear she was declining and when I knew I couldn’t do anything more for my beautiful girl, on March 23rd, I said goodbye. It very easily was the most difficult goodbye in my life. She was my first dog and the stories, memories, and adventures we shared over those 13 years she was by my side (I adopted her at age 2, my first dog while I had a broken ankle), were endless and honestly, the best ones of my life.”

“The session was everything I hoped for and much more. That day was an experience that Peter and I will both always keep as a treasured memory.  In our session, I always believed Skye was camera-shy.  True or not, during the session, she quickly managed to get her nickname you gave her, Illona, McBobblehead, which I thought was very appropriate and I continued to use along with several other terms of endearment including Stinkypants, Hairytoes, Sunshine and of course Skye-girl. Waiting in the truck for dusk and the right lighting for that last shot on the hill was fun as we shared some stories and a few laughs. That time of day is my favourite and shot is still one of my favourites.”

“Having my collection means that every single day, the visions and memories of my girl that are always in my head, come to life, with a glance to the wall or a reach over to my memory box where I can go through all the shots and re-live my endless memories of my Skye as often as I like. It makes me feel like she truly is still around me.  The photo shoot was the best thing I ever did, not only for myself to keep Skye’s memory alive but to honour her, pay tribute to her, to know how much she meant to me and how much happiness, joy, comfort, love and companionship she brought to my life. She was a perfect friend and seeing the photos each day reminds me what an impact she made.”

Thank you, Anita … thank you SO much for sharing your lovely Skye with me, for trusting me to do her proud, for opening up and connecting.  My greatest hope is that one day you find room in your heart to show your Skye-girl the greatest honour, and that is to give your heart to another in her memory.



Daina - Beautiful pictures captured of a beautiful girl!

Sherie Dracup - What a beautiful tribute, and a beautiful girl.

complimentary puppy photo sessions! ~ Ontario pet photographer

Oh yes, you read that correctly: “complimentary puppy photo sessions” from scruffy dog … as in ‘no cost’.   Yes, seriously!

Do you have a puppy or are planning on adding a new 4-legged family member 5 months of age or under?  If so, here is your opportunity to have professional, unique and artistic images captured of them in all of their adorableness by a veteran animal photographer!   … no matter what the season!

This is a limited time offer, so don’t hesitate to contact Illona today to find out all of the details and get your puppy on board!

NOTE: all qualifying puppies must be UNDER 5 months of age at the time of their session.




Max ~ DOGS WE’VE LOVED ~ Waterloo pet photographer

Meet Max … another entry in the very special Dogs We’ve Loved series — a series that pays tribute to those dogs whom we’ve loved in life and continue to love beyond.  These are the beloved creatures who live on in our memories, in our hearts, our souls, and through the very important photos we create of them. You can see other entries in the Dogs We’ve Loved series here.

I will always remember Max for his incredible love for his humans and the love they had for him, his patience with his crazy sister, his calm, easygoing nature, the fact that he looked like an Ewok … and, of course, for those impossibly long lashes of his.

Max’s first session was back in 2010 with his older sister Lucy who was lost a couple of years after the session.  Max was only 4 yrs old when we forged out for their November session under spectacular skies.

Max’s second session was when he was 7, shortly after little sister Sophie joined the family.

Unfortunately Julie and Dru lost Max three years later after he was diagnosed with Cushings.  The greatest toll was on this amazing boy’s heart, and Julie and Dru had to make the difficult decision to let him go.

In their words:

“Max was something special. From the day we brought him home he was loving, funny, loyal and lazy 🙂 I have never seen a dog get so excited to go for a walk only to want to turn right around to go home 4 houses in.

And he was our sweet, sweet boy who we miss every single day.  Noone can ever replace him – not even close. But, because he was such a great little man and such a joy to be around, we have been able to share our home with a new little man, Simon. Sophie was just too lost without Max not to get her a brother and in the end, it’s been good for Dru and I as well.

Both of our sessions were SO much fun – they are our family photos – and they capture Max and his personality perfectly. Both the loving, funny side and the one that rolled his eyes and huffed when he didn’t get his way.

For the first few days after we lost him having the photos was hard, but I have to say it’s so nice to look up and see him throughout our house and we know he’s still with us. The artwork and album continue to remind us both of how wonderful he was and what a pleasure it was to have him as part of our family, even if it was only for a short time. He made us both better people.”

I look forward to meeting Julie and Dru’s newest member, Simon, and creating photographic memories of him and Sophie as well.  And I know all too well that as much love as they will ultimately have for this new boy, as much as he will eventually fill their hearts, a part of their hearts and souls will always feel just a wee bit emptier without Max in their lives.

Thank you, Dru and Julie, for being such a long-standing part of the scruffy dog family, and for letting me play a small role in yours.


Susan Humphreys - These photographs are wonderful, and although heartbreaking, they
will be such a comfort to the doggy parents, Julie and Dru.

Susan Humphreys

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