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 (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)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

sweet girl emma ~ {Guelph, Ontario pet photographer}

this is Emma … she is no longer on this earth, but her spirit, i am certain, is firmly planted with her family, and lives on in the young Eleanor whom i had the pleasure of meeting this summer and is working hard to fill her shoes.

01-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-16
i had the pleasure of meeting this sweet dame for her Honor Session™ a year ago (yes, i’m that behind in blogging but trying really hard to catch up).  we’d just had a lovely snow fall but the temps weren’t too cold for sweet old Emmie who suffered with arthritis.  mom, Dr. Renee Fleming at the Guelph Animal Hospital, had been doing some stem cell therapy on her girl and she really did motor through the woods like a trooper … and certainly gave good face like any well-respecting bulldog!

02-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-152
03-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-36
Emma even played a little dressup with her fabulous poncho.

04-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-65
but mostly, she just wanted to go.

05-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-121
and gave me looks, of course, whenever i asked her to strike a pose.

06-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-168-Edit
07-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-85
08-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-130
… or not give me looks.

09-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-262
and Emma certainly loved her mom.  that was without question.

10-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-252
11-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-274
13-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-311-Edit
12-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-286
Emma was the first dog to use the scruffy dog settee.  i had spent three years searching for this settee — the right style, the right color — and had finally found it up in Oshawa only a couple of weeks before her session.  i think she was the perfect dog to christen it … and certainly was more than comfortable up on it.  then again, on her booking form Emma was described as “our princess” and “a spoiled bitch” … no doubt, Emma thought her throne had finally been delivered!
14-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-373
15-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-379
16-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-396
17-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-212
warming up in the car, we headed to our favorite back alley for a few more shots …

18-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-456
… but of course, Emma was insatiable … having had a taste for her throne, she demanded it once again.

19-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-471
20-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-485
21-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-486
22-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-502
and finally off to find some graffiti for a splash of color …  and yes, Emma, i think that says “Nipples”.

23-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-576
24-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-544
25-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-613
26-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-520
thank you, Renee, for allowing me the honor of capturing these photographic memories of Emma.  i can’t describe the deep pleasure it was to meet her and you, to work with you both and witness the bond and love that bound and wove between you.  i know this girl who saw you through your veterinarian college days will forever be in your heart, and her incredible spirit will always surround you with every future dog you welcome into your life.

27-waterloo-ontario-dog-photographer-pet-bulldog-emma fleming-629


Linda - What great photos of this dog.

Holly Garner-Jackson - Such a wonderful session. Rest well sweet girl!

Joni A Solis - Pretty, sweet, snow angel.

Roxanne Maguire - <3 <3 <3 Beautiful, through and through. What a love!!! And SO wonderfully captured by Ilona <3

Renee Fleming - So beautiful – thank you so much Ilona. I miss her like crazy. The beautiful photos you took surround me at work and home and I’m eternally grateful to have them.

Vince Salmic - Wonderful, made me tear-up…

more wintry goodness! ~ {Waterloo, Ontario pet exclusive photographer}

well, there’s no denying that here in Waterloo and across Ontario, it is — indeed — winter.  so as i plan to head out to take advantage of yet another new blanket of snow to shoot a client session today, i thought i’d present you with another wintry blog entry.  this is, of course, a courageous attempt at some serious catchup with blogging from our 2013 sessions.

a lot of people don’t consider winter to be a viable shooting season … yes, it’s colder and we have to bundle up and be aware of the dogs’ comfort … yes, the weather is a little more unpredictable and we have to be flexible with the schedule … but the results are wonderful!  of course, having said that, i will also say that in the winter months i am most typically shooting Starter Sessions and the winter segment of the Seasons Session, so that no one is spending 2-3 hours in the cold!

unlike the spring and fall seasons which book up well in advance, winter tends to have a little more availability.  so if you are considering a session for your scruffy, winter might be a good time for you!  we still have room for a couple of spots!

without further ado, let me present to you Chaos, Axel and Maggie …

01-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-379
Maggie here was almost 10 at the time of her session.  how sweet is this face?
02-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-342
and she certainly had lots to say.
03-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-344
04-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-160
sweet Maggie couldn’t be trusted off-leash, so we used one of the scruffy dog long lines.  of course, this line would typically be edited out for ordered prints and products, but for the sake of showing you what goes on during a scruffy session, i’ve left the line in some cases here.
05-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-199
06-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-169
and this handsome boy is Axel … the youngest in this pack at 2 yrs.
07-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-362
08-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-368
10-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-98-Edit
i had lots of fun with this boy.
11-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-302
12-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-295
Axel, as well, could not be entirely trusted off leash so, to be safe, i had him kept on a line as well … as you see here.
13-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-138
and finally we have Chaos … a.k.a. ball hog, stick hog, rock hound.
14-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-320
15-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-323
16-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-267
but his true love is his soccer ball …
17-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-25
18-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-243
19-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-29
20-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-261
21-waterloo-pet-photographer-chaos axel maggie nicoll-40

thanks, Teresa, for sharing your border pack with me, and for a fun afternoon of shooting!


Linda Leighton - What a beautiful series with my favorite breed! You really caught the spriit of these beautiful dogs!

Holly Garner-Jackson - Haha! Great series!

Brittany May Garrett - Axel is gorgeous against that snow!

Teresa Nicoll - This truly just brightened up this gloomy day. I was excited to see the picture of all 3 of them but to have a whole blog! Thank you Ilon

Michelle Bradshaw - OMD>>>i am in love with all three of these beauties!!! Awesome shots illona!!!

put a little scruffy in your winter ~ {Waterloo pet photographer}

as a cold snap grips scruffyville, i figured it was a good time to blog some winter shots.  and as promised, it is my mission to try to blog at least a decent portion of the sessions shot last year.  during the actual heavier shooting seasons of spring, summer and fall there is seldom time to do any serious blogging, so this is my narrow window of opportunity!

so let me introduce to you Chewy and Huxley …

01-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-50
exactly how handsome are these two boys?  Huxley — Mr. Dark and Handsome — had actually been entered in a previous scruffy dog facebook contest and i’d remembered seeing his photo … but what i had remembered was a schnauzery-looking, little scruffnut … and what bounded out of Kathy’s car was this long-legged, scruffy man!  i was stoked … what a handsome man!

02-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-64
of course, Chewy is no slouch in the Looks Department.

03-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-34
and while Huxley was all go-go-go …

04-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-120
… Chewy was Mr. Poser.

05-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-3
06-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-76
so while Huxley showed off his running skills …
07-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-72
…and his super mad pouncing skillz!
08-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-109
brother Chewy showed off his superior posing talents.
09-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-13
10-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-8
11-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-86
of course, no session is without a scruffy dog ball or two … and Chewy was only too happy to oblige with some retrieving …
12-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-49
and some crazy leaping skills himself.
13-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-43
i’m not entirely certain what Huxley thought he was hunting in the snow, but his skills were definitely honed.
14-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-98
15-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-139
16-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-27
thank you for introducing me to your fabulous boys, Kathy.  it was a pleasure to capture their images!

17-waterloo-pet-photographer-chewy huxley mathers-79


Holly Garner-Jackson - Haha! super work!

Joni A Solis - Leaping lizards — I mean dogs — what fun!

Brittany May Garrett - Great stuff! Love the action shots against that pristine white background. Lovely.

Debi Livingston - awesome!

Michelle Bradshaw - Gorgeous shots illona!!!!

S e a r c h
F a c e b o o k
S u b s c r i b e
M e r r i c k