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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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