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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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Ball Obsessed Dog Photographed in Melbourne

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, December 16, 2016


These days, most people with pets have hundreds of photos of them on their phones. So when I ask if I can see what their pet looks like they can readily find some cute shots of their adorable furry friends to illustrate all the amusing and endearing little things that they do.


However, this was not the case when I first met Melissa. She said her dog, Rupert, was camera shy and really hard to photograph  and she could only find one photo of him to show me. She had plenty of her family’s other dog, Spencer, who enjoys posing for the camera.

So, when I met up with Melissa and her brother Michael to photograph them with their family dog I was expecting to be challenged. Happily that did not prove to be the case and I ended up with so many great shots of this wonderful little character that it was hard to know what to share on my blog.


Part Pomeranian, part Terrier, Rupert is an affectionate character who loves interaction and planting kisses on Melissa's face. He presents himself as a beautiful golden-red ball of fluff who mostly wears a happy, smiling face. I saw him only briefly with a serious expression and weirdly it made him look like a completely different dog; in fact almost like a fox. However, every single time I look at his serious face I feel affection for him which in turn makes me have a little smile.


Rupert is, however, not at all fond of other dogs and likes to loudly stand his ground when one comes into view. Photographing in the inner city streets of Melbourne therefore had the potential of a dog-to-dog confrontation and a very stressed subject. I scouted for locations carefully in the hope of avoiding canine conflict but there were occasions when we had to block Rupert’s view of passers by.




Rupert’s attention is easily focussed when there is a ball in play. He will jump extremely high to catch one and I was fascinated by how accurate he was at the task. Very athletic and impressively steady when standing upright on his hind legs.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Pomeranian-Catching Ball


As these photos show, Rupert turned out to be the quite the model dog and I really enjoyed my outing with him.

Melissa and Michael now have a wonderful collection of images that show that when the attention is all on him, Rupert can rise to the occasion and be the star. 


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Pet Shots Photography Discovers Puppy Love

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Bella ~ beautiful, loving and absolutely lovable. 

This dear wee Cavoodle puppy lives right up to the meaning of her name but could also be described as adorable, delightful, playful and fun!


Lulu was promised a puppy to celebrate her 13th birthday but when the time came the breeder had none available so she had to wait a little while longer. Judging by the tender, caring delight she shows towards Bella, this delightful ball of caramel fluff was well worth waiting for.

However, it is not only Lulu who has fallen head over heels for this new family addition. Her parents Rebecca and James seem to be just as smitten by her. 


When photographing this puppy there were many squeals of delight at her energetic antics and affectionate kisses. Her quieter moments brought forward many oohs and aahs and I could feel the intense love that had found it’s way deep into the hearts of all three members of this family.

Bella is certainly set for a wonderful life in this home.



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Family Photographed with Their Whippet in Malvern East Park

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Isn't this dog a little darling!  Just one look at her and you can see why it didn’t take long for the newest member of this family to win over the hearts of her four human guardians.






Testimony to that is when I recently photographed Mark, Karen, Katie and Rachel in Hedgeley Dene Gardens, East Malvern. All were happy to be photographed together but they also each wanted their own individual photo with Lily.  


This dear little Whippet is gentle and cuddly and doesn’t seem to mind which one of them is sharing their affection with her. She realises she is on to a good thing and will happily embrace the attention from any one of them.

Lily definitely distributes much love to those in her new home. She makes everyone in it feel just that little bit happier.

Read stories about other pets I have photographed.


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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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Marley Mums Adore Their Pugalier

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, June 02, 2014


You know a dog called Marley is truly, deeply, madly loved when two women refer to themselves as “The Marley Mums.”

This is one lucky (and perhaps just a teeny, weeny bit spoilt) little pooch. 


Christine and her daughter Katie devote themselves to Marley and her wellbeing.  They would do anything for her and you can imagine their distress and tears when Marley recently had to endure an operation. Fortunately she came through okay and is now well and truly on the mend.

I photographed Marley at home last spring when Christine’s garden was a showcase of pink and purple splendour. It was the perfect setting to show off this Pugalier’s shiny black coat.


Loving and affectionate and fond of planting kisses, this little dog enjoys the company of her two human companions as much as they enjoy hers. Whether curled up together watching TV, playing fetch with her rope toy or out walking in their neighbourhood, these three just love being together. Her best canine friends are both German Sheperds. Although I wasn’t to see it, one of them holds Marley’s lead in her mouth when out walking together.  Adorable!

Christine chose a storybook album with a collection of photos that celebrate many of her favourite things - her daughter, her pooch, her home and her spectacular garden. Lovely, meaningful memories for her to cherish forever.


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Under Construction

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My favourite subjects to photograph are relationships in all their forms and the special events in people’s lives. Recording these historic moments for others to treasure and remember forever is deeply satisfying and meaningful.

So photographing Usha and Ben at the beginning of a new stage in their lives was indeed a privilege and, may I add, much fun.


Not only is this family in the midst of a complete renovation of their home but they are also soon to introduce a new member into it. A new home, new baby, new family dynamics, new dreams and aspirations. In fact, a new path towards their future together.

Completely at ease with the changes that are taking place around them are their Border Collies Ollie and Ashani. 


Ashani, the independent and bossy 3 year old female dog, has a special relationship with Ben. She loves nothing more than hanging out with him playing frisbee or soccer or being scooped up in his arms and thrown playfully across his lap or around his shoulders.


Ollie is a couple of years older and has a caring and affectionate bond with Usha. During Usha’s pregnancy Ollie has loved resting his head upon her growing belly. His favourite toy is a tennis ball and like Ashani his favourite outing is to the beach. 


I can visualise these two active dogs next summer sharing their excitement of playing on the sand and by the edge of the water with their delighted 6 month old sibling. I can almost hear the giggling and laughter.

These two adored dogs are about to find a whole lot of new love.


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Pet Photography Melbourne - Mr Darcy

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jackie did her research before bringing Mr Darcy into the family’s inner city home. She wanted a small dog that didn’t shed and wouldn’t dig or bark excessively. Beyond everything else, she wanted a dog who would be a devoted companion to her.

Even the name of this Miniature Schnauzer suggests she wanted a dog who would pay attention to the lady of the house. She chose the adorable, affectionate and totally irresistible Mr Darcy.

Although he is loyal to her when she is alone with him, the moment her husband John walks through the door, Mr Darcy changes his allegiance and takes to John’s lap. Not quite what Jackie had been longing for. However I think that John, although not necessarily wanting a dog, is thrilled with the addition to their household and his life. 

Despite the part time attention Mr Darcy pays her, Jackie still adores him. Who wouldn’t!

Jackie commented on 19-Sep-2013 02:46 PM
Wonderful photos!
They were Initiated by your great idea to create a book to raise funds for animal aid. It was good timing as John was recovering from a cardiac arrest and the photos were such a valuable reminder of how precious family is. Darcy performed for the camera and you can see how much delight/ simple fun he has brought into our lives.
The book and photos have pride of place in our home.
Thank you Lesley!

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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 - 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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