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Internationally-renowned, award-winning animal photographer Illona Haus is the province's premier pet photographer, serving clients across Ontario, the US and the world. Photographing exclusively animals, both commercially and for private clients, since 2007, scruffy dog photography inc. -- based in Kitchener, Ontario -- is considered one of the world's leading and most influential pet photographers.


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.

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.

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

    Susan Humphreys

limited edition MUTT-SHOTS sessions are back for one more round! ~ Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario pet photographer

I am super stoked to be able to open up the scruffy dog schedule to another round of Mutt Shots sessions.  This is only the second time I have offered these fabulous, fantastical, magical, wonderful pet photography sessions, and this may be the last.  And like the last time,  spots are limited!  So if you are interested in a scruffy dog Mutt Shots session you need to book now.  Like, today!

Over the years I often receive inquiries from people asking for “just one great shot.”  Now, I’ll admit, I don’t believe in just “one-great-shot”, and I approach every session and every animal with the goal of MANY great shots … even epic shots.

HOWEVER, I can’t ignore these inquiries.  As a result, the Mutt Shots are a limited, special short session … essentially “head-shots” for dogs … or, as I like to call it: “mutt shots”!

Of course – as with any SDP session – I will shoot more than just a head-shot.  Instead, you will receive a rich variety even within this short portrait session.  Check out the sample galleries below to see what is possible!




The Mutt-Shots Session … provides a small but mighty gallery of unique, professional images capturing your 4-legger’s essence through a series of shots in one setting. This session is for the client who is after a solid selection for that “one great shot” (and a few others) … for canvas, print, and/or a creative storyboard. It can also be a great addition for the SDP client who is looking to add more images to their portfolio.

$225 includes:

$50 print credit towards your choice of prints, canvas or other fine art product

– one pet ($50 for second pet from the same household; two-pet maximum for Mutt Shots sessions)

– 15 to 20 minutes of shooting time (per pet)

– toys and nutritional treats

– 8 to 12 edited proofs in your private online gallery

15% discount off all custom prints and products!

– social media image gifted of every print / product ordered


There will be 3 Mutt-Shots sessions held on 3 separate dates, in 3 different locations in Kitchener.


And for those who simply can’t decide which ‘set’ they prefer, clients are welcome to book two or all three of these Mutt-Shots dates for increased savings!

To book: send me an email. Any questions you have will be answered and you will be sent the booking form.


NOTE: your session fee (+ HST) will be required as a retainer to hold your spot.

(NOTE: the dates and locations noted below are the ONLY dates and locations that will be used for the Mutt Shots sessions)





Saturday 17 March STUDIO – Here are two sample galleries from our fabulous natural-light studio.


For the studio sessions we have two pieces of furniture.

Small dogs (under 20 lbs) and cats, too! –  white modern leather chair

And for large dogs (over 20 lbs)super comfy couch

For those of you with a cat who is up for the travel, here is your chance for some lovely in-studio photos.  And since we use only natural light, there are no harsh strobes or flashes to upset your cat.



Saturday 28 April URBAN – downtown Kitchener alley    (rain date Sunday 29 April) – shooting from 10 a.m. – 2’ish

Here are two sample galleries for our alley location.





Saturday 2 June NATURAL – the forest path    (rain date Sunday 3 June) – shooting approximately 4-8:00 p.m.

Here are two sample galleries of the forest path session.





And, of course, if one Mutt Shots session isn’t enough, the savings abound! When you book two Mutt Shots sessions, you receive a $75 print credit on your second session (instead of $50) … for a total of $125 in print credits! And if two aren’t enough and you simply must have all three Mutt Shots sessions then your third print credit increases to $100 … for a total of $225 in print credits for your three sessions! And always: 15% discount on prints and products!

To review some of the scruffy dog lineup of premium fine-art prints and products, check out the artwork page.


And just an added note … what a Mutt-Shots Session is not

Because this is a short, concentrated session focused on great head/body/environment shots, and because of the locations/settings offered, this is not a session in which to capture action images (running, catching, jumping, etc.). If you are after these types of images along with portrait-type images, please look at the other scruffy dog sessions.


Again, spots are limited for each session, so please book soon! Contact Illona today for more information and the booking form.


NOTE: Because this is a special promotion, no additional discounts (i.e. repeat client discounts) may be applied.

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    Merrick & Matea ~ BLOW project ~ Ontario commercial pet photographer

    It has been about a year since the BLOW photo project went viral, both online and editorially globally.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this very popular pet photography series, I introduced the much-awaited BLOW project in this very first blog entry, and it has become a big hit on sites like Bored Panda and across the globe in the UK, France, Estonia, and even Japan among other countries.  You can also see more of BLOW across different online publications like Dog Milk, Dogster and This Dog’s Life (sometimes called Dogs vs Fans) as well as real publications globally.  It is still such a thrill to hear from viewers around the world who continue to enjoy the series.  And yet, in all of this time, I haven’t shared a this blog entry of my own two scruffies — Merrick and Matea — in front of the now-infamous antique fan.

    Sadly, Matea and Merrick are no longer with me.  As some of you already know, they were both lost in October 2016.  Over a year later, I still feel their loss more deeply than I have felt the loss of any other dog or animal in my past, and I weep just looking at their photos.

    My ever-sweet boy Merrick was the very first dog to step in front of the scruffy dog fan and was the inspiration behind this special BLOW series.  Sadly, because I then focused on the other participants in the project, I really didn’t shoot big variety of Merrick with the fan.

    … and a little smile from my best boy ever.

    And for those who don’t already know her, this is my amazing girl Matea … she was already stone deaf when we shot these images with the fan for the special pet photography series BLOW, but she was always willing to try new things and work with me.  And she had just enough fringes for the blowing wind to play with.

    I lost my steadfast girl of 14 years only eight days after losing Merrick, but I am so grateful to have her images as part of this special project.

    I hope you enjoyed the BLOW photo project.  You can see more blog entries of this fun and unique project right here.

    And if you don’t want to miss a single scruffy dog blog entry, consider ‘subscribing’ for the notifications by email whenever a new blog entry has been posted.  You’ll receive a simple email alerting you to each new blog entry — easy peasy … you’ll never miss another! Subscription signup can be done through the slide-out menu on the left … yup, right over there … or rather ‘left’ over there.  You got it.   See you soon!

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