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Pet Photography - Moments To Treasure

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This is a story about love in all it’s many forms; the binding connections between people and their pets and how children learn about life through their relationships with them.

The first chapter is of a self-effacing mother and grandmother offering her pet photography gift voucher to her daughter and her family to be photographed with their variety of pets. I decided to extend the voucher to include everyone and every pet, including Val’s cat Leo.

Pet Shots Photography,Labradoodle

Val thought that because of her advancing age Bella, the smaller and feistier of her daughter’s two dogs, may be the first beloved pet to cross the Rainbow Bridge so her desire was for me to capture some great images to honour her.

Pet Shots Photography, Boys with Dog

Bella, a cream-coloured Labradoodle, came into Amanda and Matt’s lives fourteen years ago when Amanda was expecting their first child. As a young pup she would snuggle up to Amanda’s pregnant tummy and it seemed that right from those early moments she and Spencer formed an inseparable bond. Even now she is always by his side.

Pet Shots Photography,Labrador Boxer Cross

Betty, the black Labrador-Boxer cross, joined the family 6 years later. She immediately became attached to Bella, followed her faithfully and was very protective of her. Bella liked being the top dog and was not averse to leading her playmate astray.

These two dogs are able to roam off-lead on their Queensland hinterland property, but not with each other. If both were untethered at the same time or found the door ajar at night they would embark on adventures to explore the undergrowth of the surrounding bushland. With all the enticing new scents to follow it was surely great fun when they set off from their rural sanctuary but alarming for them and their human companions when they became lost for several days on end and were unable to find their way back to the safety of their home. 

Pet Shots Photography,Cat

Spooky and Molly are the two cats in the family.

Pet Shots Photography,Cat,Boy

Impressively Olley, the younger son, bought Molly with his pocket money from the RSPCA 2 years ago. Aware that she was an old cat and probably wouldn’t live much longer he decided he could give her a loving home for the remainder of her life. She doesn’t often venture outside but loves his company and sleeps curled up on his bed with him every night.

Pet Shots Photography,Boy with Chicken

Spencer is more drawn to his nine chickens and is pictured here with Jet. Not only are they his pets but also an income earner as he sells their free range eggs to the teachers at his school. Pets with benefits you might say.

Pet Shots Photography,Family with Dogs

Unexpectedly Betty recently became ill and passed away. Bella is a little lost without her canine companion and, as you might expect, searches every nook and cranny trying to find her. I am so glad I was able to photograph this dearly loved dog with her family snuggling into her and showering her with their love.


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One Lucky Cat

Lesley O'Donnell - Saturday, February 28, 2015


This is one special cat. He even uses a surname!

Most cats spend their entire lives inside their homes or accompanying backyards and seldom venture further afield than their immediate neighbourhoods. Not so with Pepper. 

He began his life in Saudi Arabia, now lives in Melbourne and will possibly immigrate in the future to another distant corner of the big wide world.

This very handsome Persian/Turkish Angora feline goes everywhere, except to work, with Dorris. I must say I was surprised when she came for her photography planning appointment with Pepper untethered and snuggled up in her arms. 

That’s when I learnt that he accompanies Dorris on walks along suburban streets, goes with her to the market and on other outings. He is content to be with her and never tries to free himself from her embrace.


He is treated like a grandchild by her mother and when she knitted Dorris and her husband Shwen scarves, Pepper got one too. He certainly looks very dapper wearing it.

When a kitten, Pepper was very inquisitive and fearless. He is very fortunate that the saying, “curiosity killed the cat” wasn’t his swan song. Twice he fell from high balconies; the first time 2 storeys up and the second from an apartment on the sixth floor. Luckily he survived without injury and it was possibly Dorris and Shwen who were more shaken up by the incident. 

Understandably, Dorris now has a deep desire to protect him and this is possibly why he now leads such an inclusive lifestyle. 

Pepper loves to stalk (although not hunt) and his favourite game is hide and seek and catch me if you can. This fluffy cuddle-muffin eats his dry food directly from Dorris’s hand and enjoys curling up in bed alongside her.


Dorris rescued Pepper when in Saudi Arabi and I can see that everyday he repays her in spades. 


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Three Pets Make Good Company

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, February 23, 2015


Those of you with several pets will be nodding your heads when I say that the more animals together in a photo the greater the challenge in taking it. Especially if one of them is a young and playful puppy who thinks all other household pets are there for her entertainment. 

India, the beautiful Burmese cat in this family, is still coming to terms with being looked upon as a playmate to the baby in the house. She was not amused by having to be so near to Matilda and tried her best to wriggle free and retreat to a quieter, secluded part of the house. 

On the other hand Pip, the older of the two King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, was very chilled and once on Sue-Virginia’s lap was so relaxed in her position of comfort that at times she dropped off to sleep.

Sue-Virginia’s hands were fully occupied with puss and puppy wrestling but she still managed to maintain a happy smile as she cuddled up with her three companions. 

Who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive from a dear friend, such a thoughtful, personal birthday present? A pet portrait is a gift that keeps on giving forever.

We would love you to leave a comment below or you can book your own pet photography session or arrange a gift for your friend here.



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Pet Shots Photography - Look Alikes

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, October 21, 2014


They say that people and their pets can look alike. With their striking green eyes and vibrant coloured hair these two certainly share some similarities.

This pretty Domestic Shorthair was originally known as Lenny Penny. However, once she came into Jessica’s care, the Lenny was dropped and she became known by the more feminine and suitable name of Penny.

Jessica volunteers with Animal Aid as a foster carer for kittens and rabbits in need of a loving environment until they find their forever homes. She got to know Penny as one of her wards.

Penny’s sisters were adopted quickly as kittens but Penny was never so lucky and she remained at Animal Aid for quite some time as she grew into an adult cat. People were attracted to her beautiful tortoiseshell markings but were not able to bond with her as she always nervously ran away when anyone tried to pat her or pick her up. 

Luckily, Jessica fell for her and decided to adopt Penny herself. Once the decision was made Jessica walked straight in to the cat enclosure, picked her up and placed her in a box to take her home. That surprised everyone at the shelter. As Jessica put her into the car, she looked through the holes of the box and Penny looked back and gave her a little thank you meow.

Although not “snuggle buddies” Penny instantly settled in with Toby, the family’s other cat. They enjoy playing together and just hanging out.

After four years of living with her family, Penny is still nervous of new people and doesn’t enjoy being picked up. However, she is very clever and responds to many word commands including “down stairs” “ into bed” and “time to come in”. Penny does love spending time with family members and indulging in their affection. However, she has particularly bonded with Jessica and looks to her to feel secure and protected.


Penny was very interested in meeting the three little green tree frogs who also live in her house (see previous blog) although it appears that one of them was a little unsure of meeting her.

If you would like to star with Jessica and Penny in the next edition of our fund raising book “Connected Tales III” please register here. We would love to feature images of you and your pets and tell your unique story. Entries are closing soon.


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Working Cats and Dogs - Pet Photography

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, August 07, 2014


In Australia, Schipperkes are a lesser known breed of small dog with fluffy jet black coats, curling tails and sharp fox-like features. They are sometimes known as Belgian Barge Dogs as in the past they were often used to guard barges and to keep the rat population on them at bay.



One year old Nellie and her older brother Vinnie don’t earn their keep afloat but they do accompany their mum Carol to work everyday. She operates a wonderful pet supply store called Murphy Brothers in Hawthorn and they are the “fur attendants” there. You may know the iconic building on the corner of Auburn and Burwood Roads that houses this long established family run business. Beginning life as a chaff and grain store it has survived unadulterated and is surely one of our city’s architectural treasures.


Carol’s tortoiseshell cat Cheeky Monkey also spends her days here but prefers to be curled up on her cat tower upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of the retail life below. 


As you can imagine, life for these three is akin to being a child living in a toy shop. Every plaything and treat imaginable is at Carol’s discretion for them to enjoy. They certainly share a charmed life with her.


It was such a delight to photograph these three pets with Carol in this historic building that I have long admired. The patina on the brick walls, caused by a fire in the building some time ago, the hay bails and the rafters of the warehouse roof provided such great backgrounds for this pet photography session. 


We also photographed at Carol’s nearby home and around her historic neighbourhood incorporating other iconic buildings in the area.

Selecting a few photos to post in this blog was a difficult task as this pet photography session resulted in so many great shots. I think Carol made the right decision to incorporate her favourites as a collection in a keepsake photograph album. 

The variety not only celebrates her strong bonds with her pets and the individual personalities of each one, but also documents the history of her own community. That is something she will surely treasure forever.



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Double Trouble - Melbourne Cat Photography

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, April 18, 2014

Kittens, like all baby animals, are so impossibly cute. They are hard to resist and have the power to make you fall in love with them. Just ask Mat who went off in search of one kitten and came home with two. 


Tabby cats Casper and Spike are brothers, alike but fortunately not quite identical in appearance or mannerisms. This is lucky because I was wondering how I was going to tell them apart. Their size difference helped as Casper is quite a lot bigger than Spike. Perhaps this is because, when he thinks he can get away with it, he helps himself to Spike’s meals as well as his own.

Now 10 years old, these two male cats are so adored by Caroline and Mat that they brought them across from the UK when they moved to Melbourne. It seems only natural to bring the two beings who make you feel calm, happy, chilled and loved to share your new home, no matter how far the journey may be.



Spike, the smaller of the two cats, loves to sit up on the back of the couch and watch the world go by outside the window. He also loves investigating small spaces and is content to curl up inside the smallest of boxes. In his more playful moments he enjoys being teased with a feather on a stick.


Casper has a special fondness for Mat and adores snuggling up over his shoulder. He has a loving and cuddly nature but can also be somewhat mischievous and likes to play with anything that Spike is amusing himself with. Typical sibling rivalry.

Casper’s favourite toy is a mouse on a string but he has been known to use the same hunting skills to catch and destroy giant live moths.

Fascinatingly these two cats are trained to come on command to a whistle. Clever.

They also have their teeth regularly cleaned which is something I have never come across before. Each has a tiny toothbrush and special feline toothpaste. I was intrigued to observe the process and see that they didn’t seem to mind.


I discovered at the end of our photography session, that both cats would look wherever I wanted if a piece of ham was held up in front of them. A new feline seduction trick for me to employ in the future.


This family of four will feature in our forthcoming coffee table book Connected Tales 3. If you would like your pets to star alongside Casper and Spike and help us raise funds for Animal Aid please register here. We would love to have you onboard.


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Beloved Baker Boy

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, March 06, 2014

Striking is the most appropriate word to describe this tabby Domestic Shorthair cat. With his vibrant orange nose, bright green eyes and magnificent coat he presents himself as a work of art.

Baker’s beautiful symmetrical stripes are clearly visible for all to see. However, when he rolls over onto his back hopeful of a tummy rub, you discover he conceals cheetah-like spots on his chubby underbelly. This kittenish position also reveals the jet black soles on his paws. Claire cherishes these things about her beloved cat.

His lively nature is revealed in bed where Baker loves to pounce on Claire and Bob’s toes. I suspect they wriggle them a little to enhance and lengthen the activity.

Boisterous Baker’s love of amusing games also keeps Bob entertained. He loves to indulge Baker by playing with him and has given him many feline toys to keep him playfully occupied. Favourite interactions revolve around feathers, toy mice and a long brightly coloured tunnel. 

This rescued cat was fortunate to find such a loving home.  He brings so much joy into it.


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