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Doggie Friends Become Family

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photographing four dogs together is always a challenge but when all four are white look-a-likes the assignment is even greater. 

Sharing identical cute little button-eyed expressions and with the same shade of velvety, pale pink lining their alert ears these four West Highland Terriers appeared to also have an allegiance with the same talented groomer. When I first laid eyes on them they seemed to all look exactly the same.

I did know one was a male dog and as I became more familiar I could see that Bailey was overall larger with slightly more masculine facial features. Helpfully, he also wore a blue collar which distinguished him from Bonnie, Pavlova and Bombe Alaska. Don’t you just love the unique names of these dogs! So witty and clever!


These four Westies used to live as pairs in two separate households. However, when Siobhan and Kelly set up home together these four little pooches became one eye-catching blended family. I imagine they attract a great deal of attention when they venture out on their walks.

The request was to have all four dogs running together towards the camera but this proved to be impossible as when they were let off their leashes they all headed in completely different directions. Again and again and again. I suggested using my magic Photoshop skills to blend a shot of each dog to make up one image but this idea was rejected. The owners wanted the shot to be authentic.

So this is the image that was chosen as a signature piece to decorate their home. I am sure it will continue to bring a bemused smile each time it is glimpsed. 


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Bossy Boy - Dog Photography

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, April 30, 2015


Almost certainly Bozley views himself as a person rather than as a dog.

When people gather for meals he likes to sit at the dining table. Unlike most dogs, he is not drawn there because of the food laid out on the surface but rather to ensure that he is part of the conversations that take place around it. 


Described as grumpy this Westie Maltese cross chooses who he lets into his world. Although he lives with a family of five, Lucille is the one he chooses to protect and she is the only person he allows to stroke or cuddle him. Even her husband Adam, their three girls and their other dog Bree (see previous story) are not permitted within touching range.

Bozley rules his own wonderful world.


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Fantasy and a Puppy Dog Friend

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, April 27, 2015


Playful imagination is a delightful thing to be around. It makes you laugh and applaud spur-of-the-moment ideas.

And, so it was when I photographed five year old Teagan in her fantasy princess bedroom setting with her puppy dog Bree. 



Not content to sit perfectly still in her colourful fairy dress, this energetic young girl decided it would be more fun to jump and roll around on her bed with her little companion. Surely, way more fun than just sitting there. Luckily this petite Westie Cavalier cross has an amenable disposition and followed along with Teagan’s active games.


Teagan’s Mum was perhaps after more demure photos of the two together but I think in the end the portraits captured the very nature of this little fun loving spirit and her best friend.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Lesley O'Donnell


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Victorian Fire Dogs

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flying into Melbourne one night earlier in the week I looked down from the plane to see a ribbon of fire burning across the countryside below. 

At first I mistook it for an unusual arrangement of coloured street lights. Then I saw the smoke rising into the sky. My heart sank as I realised Victoria had been burning while I was overseas enjoying my holiday. No news of it in the land of the long white cloud.

The chilling memories of the Black Saturday fires revisited. 

Today I recalled this image I took soon after of Ian Lonsdale, the fire chief of the Langley-Barfold brigade, with Dalmatians Winnie and Mabel. Our country firies undertake such challenging, exhausting and dangerous work for the greater good of our communities. We are so lucky to have such dedicated, caring souls amongst us.

My heart goes out to all the fire fighters, their families, the animals and people living in vulnerable neighbourhoods throughout this very hot summer. May you all stay safe.

Anne & Barrie commented on 14-Feb-2014 09:01 AM
We love the image and also hope the fires stop really soon.

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Pet Photography Melbourne - Puppy Dog Eyes

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, January 17, 2014


Don’t you just love this dog’s expression?

This is one of my favourite pet photos and a large canvas of it hangs proudly in the entrance to my studio. The soulful eyes plead with you to look right back at it and most people are drawn to comment.

Matilda, a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel who lives in Brisbane, was such an expressive and fun personality to photograph. She made me laugh so much as she would position herself into a pose, I would take a few shots and then she would move again and look at me as if to say, “What do you think of this?” 

So it gave me great pleasure when her mum Erin came to visit recently and saw her dog’s portrait displayed at this impressive size. I just couldn’t resist grabbing a shot of them together. 

Erin now lives overseas but Matilda stayed on in Australia to keep her grandmother Kelsie company. Lucky Kelsie to have such an entertainer in her home.


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Melbourne Pet Photography - Love to Share

Lesley O'Donnell - Saturday, September 07, 2013

As a teenager Jessica volunteered at an animal rescue shelter. It was there that she fell in love with this German Shepherd who at the time was just eighteen months old. Her caring family decided she would be the perfect eighteenth birthday present for Jessica and there began a strong bond between a dog in need and a girl with love to share.

At the time Jazz was a dog who was scared of men in glasses and the smell of cigarettes. So one can only imagine the terrible time she endured in the past. I am so pleased that she was surrendered by her abuser and embraced into a caring home where she can live a happy life.

Now Jazz is a loving, intelligent, obedient and protective companion who loves to play with balls and go swimming, walking and camping with Jessica and her partner Ben and his young puppy Ace. 

Ace is also a German Shepherd and quite striking with his jet black coat. Although handsomely tall and much bigger in build than Jazz, he still has a playful puppy’s approach to life. He loves nothing more than playing in water so at the end of the shoot we indulged him and let him repeatedly fetch a ball from the river. He was in heaven!


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Pet Photography Melbourne - St Bernards

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, September 05, 2013

Friday and Scarlett are magnificent St Bernards who are sometimes not aware of their size and how it determines what is appropriate behaviour. Humourously, when Scarlett was younger she tried to occupy the lap of someone when their smaller breed dog vacated the position.

These two much loved dogs usually reside in Brisbane but are having a hiatus in Melbourne for the year with pet parents Kathy and Ian. When I photographed these two Kathy was keen to incorporate locations that spoke of Melbourne. I think we succeeded with the street scene featuring a grand Victorian era home, a stately wrought iron fence and a hibernating tree.

Friday is the older of the two and is very, very laid back in her nature. Her favourite pastime is to just chill with her human companions. She is loyal and protective and demonstrated this wonderfully when she once tried to prevent Kathy and Ian’s nephew, who has special needs, from going into the ocean for a swim. Very fitting for a dog that was originally bred as a rescue dog.

Affectionate Scarlett loves to please and is absolutely mortified if she is reprimanded. She is still full of puppy playfulness and adores going for walks to explore her temporary urban neighbourhood.

This breed of dog historically lived in cold climate countries. Recently Friday and Scarlett were introduced to the snow and apparently took to it as if it was where they belonged. It would have been fun to watch.


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Pet Photography Melbourne - Sock Thief

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

She looks so innocent and sweet but Bubba has a secret passion. This dear little dog has a sock fetish. There it is, out in the open and photographed for all to see. 

This happy little Maltese cross does like other games too - tug-of-war and chase and fetch in particular. But, stealing socks is her most mischievous pastime. 

Docile and willing to please, Bubba is a wonderful companion for Lana and the two of them have been inseparable for the past eight years. 

When not out exploring the world on her daily walks, she is a happy little dog who loves to curl up and cuddle and share a sense of peace and wellbeing. 


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Pet Photography Melbourne - Rescued Dogs

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I love the interaction in this family photo. It was a very funny shared moment when I asked Den and Lee to just chat to each other while I took their photos. I thought it would result in a casual feel but it turned into a great lesson in how differently we all interpret the same language.

Initially Den kept her gaze towards the camera and started talking about domestic things such as grocery shopping and what to have for dinner. A bit more serious than what I had in mind but when I explained more carefully what I meant both women burst out laughing and bingo I had this gorgeous shot.

How seriously cute is the little button face of Miss Lilly, the fourteen year old Yorkshire Terrier cross. She is such a happy little dog and loves nothing more than cuddling on Lee’s lap at every chance she gets. She collects toys which she hides under the bed and does a fine job of sitting up on her hind legs and begging for treats.

Suzie, the Japanese Chin, is the serious member of the family and the special favourite of Den. Although playful and amusing with her antics of spinning in circles, I was warned that Miss Suzie was a nervous, wary type who is not very friendly to strangers and may not be a willing participant in the photos. However, I weaved my magic and was not only able to get great images of her by herself but also with her sisters and two mums. Yay!

All of these little treasures are rescued and Miss Honey, the Chihuahua, is the latest addition to this family. Like Suzie, she was rescued from a puppy farm where she lived in appalling conditions for five years continuously having litters of puppies. When Den and Lee first met her she was in a sorry state with her teats hanging down to the ground from the constant demands of feeding her hungry pups. 

She also had dry eye which is a painful condition that the puppy farm owners did not treat. So cruel! Subsequently she lost her left eye.

With much love and attention from Den and Lee, Honey is now a happy, loving little dog who seeks out heat and affection. Who can blame her for that?


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Pet Photography Melbourne - The Tall and The Small

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, August 05, 2013

Two of my favourite things in life include photographing relationships and having clients who are willing to play and have fun. I also love using grimy inner city locations as the setting for my pet and portrait photography. On this shoot I won the trifecta.

I also love scruffy dogs and these two dogs, Belle and her much taller companion Islay, were delightfully scruffy in a groomed kind of way.

The funny thing for me was that many years ago I lived opposite a park and used to see this guy exercising his Great Dane and much smaller Jack Russell there. I always thought these two dogs together would make a great photo but regretfully never commanded the courage to go over and ask.

Anyway, all these years later I met the guy I had seen so many times in the past. Callum now has another big dog, this time a friendly, forever smiling Scottish Deerhound. His partner Ken has the smaller golden Australian Terrier so at last I got to photograph the tall and the small together. It was fun!


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