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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. 

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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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Pet Photographer Photographs Daylesford Dogs

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Jack Russell, Autumn


This is a story about two country-town dogs I photographed a season ago when Victoria was painted in splendid autumnal colour. 

They live in the beautiful historical town of Daylesford, a couple of hours drive from Melbourne. It was a joy to photograph these two rescue dogs both at home and in the magnificent Wombat Hill Gardens making the most of the picturesque scenery afforded in both. The late autumn conditions were cold but calm and it was not hard to find stunning locations to use as the backgrounds for the photos. Apparently just one week later all the trees were bare and winter had arrived so we were so lucky with the timing.


Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Jack Russell, People

I had photographed Bert, the Jack Russell cross, along with four other small dogs with whom he shared his home at the time in my photography studio when he was a younger pup. Sadly the others have all crossed the Rainbow Bridge and although Bert has lost some of his teeth and has had a chunk bitten out of his ear he still has a spring in his step and is keen for an outing where he can sniff out new smells and, with the odd bark, draw the attention of strangers walking by.

Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Autumn


This time though the focus was on the new canine addition to the family. She is a Whippet/Kelpie cross who loves chasing feathered creatures and consequently was named Tippi in reference to Tippi Hedron who starred in the movie “The Birds”.


Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Autumn, Close Up Dog

Her brindle markings and bright pink collar were beautifully complimented by the yellow, orange and pink hues of the autumn leaves. They seemed to be the perfect backdrop to enhance this feminine dog’s features.

Apparently Bert is not fond of being touched so it was a most happy conclusion to my day when he snuggled right into me as we sat on the couch with his human family while they selected the images to adorn the walls in their home.


Pet Shots Photography, Jack Russell, Autumn

To have this darling wee dog choose my company and seek my affection topped off my perfect day out in the country!



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How A Cat Reversed The Fortunes of A Senior

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, August 03, 2018



As August is the month of feline kings, I thought it especially fitting to write about a glorious thick-maned cat called Leo who I recently photographed on the Sunshine Coast.

He has a very interesting story.

Not only was he a rescue cat but, in the most unlikely of circumstances, he essentially rescued his new owner Val.


As a senior with declining health issues Val moved into an Aged Care Facility and was destined to stay there until the end of her days. But with some life changing treatment and sheer determination on her part, she managed to beat the odds and moved out to live independently again. Such an incredible and inspiring achievement!

Her one wish for her reclaimed life was to have a cat as a companion.

Her family thought it would be a straightforward task to visit an animal shelter and adopt on the spot. But Val had other ideas and felt she needed to sense an undefined “something” before making her decision.She wanted a “special” cat and it took many visits to many shelters to find him.

Waiting to be found was three year old Ragdoll Leo. He was accustomed to an indulgent life with another elderly citizen but became orphaned when she passed away.

Val couldn’t believe her luck when she first set eyes on Leo. “When I looked at him and he looked at me I felt an immediate connection and knew he was the one!” 



With his soft colours and captivating blue eyes he was so beautiful and good natured that she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t already been re-homed. Maybe he instinctively knew he had to wait for Val and the staff at the shelter held him back until they found just the right person to become his new carer.



The outcome was perfect and they are now absolutely devoted to each other. Leo comes and goes as he likes, enjoys basking in the sunshine on the windowsill as he watches the world go by, snuggles up for cuddles whenever he wants them (which is often) and allows Val to shower him with great affection.

Unknown to Val, until after she had signed his adoption papers, Leo’s original owner was so incredibly fond of her stunning cat that she wrote into her will that there be enough funds held over to support Leo in comfort and in health for the rest of his life. So for Val, this was an unexpected bonus to choosing the right cat. 

Val pinches herself about finding such a beautiful cat companion and wonders if she should enter him in Cat Shows. With a collection of his framed photos now adorning her living room wall she made the comment, “ My house now looks so trendy!”



I think this is a tale about good karma, the restorative properties having a pet can bring and good finding good.




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Mr Clooney - Canine Movie Star

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, August 02, 2018

Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Smiling


Let me introduce you to Kaiser, a most handsome 9 year old Long Haired German Shepherd.

He is a movie star!!!

Particularly known for his role in the 2017 independent Australian movie “What If It Works?” Kaiser proudly walked the red carpet with his other starring cast members when it was launched at the Lido Theatre in Hawthorn.

He also starred as himself in “Some Happy Day” which was filmed this year in St Kilda and Daylesford. He has many other film, TV and modelling credits to his name.


Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Sitting

I met him when he came into my photography studio recently to update his agency head shots. It is what all stars must do - keep current, relevant and able to stand out from the crowd when casting agents are looking for talent!

Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Movie Star Dog, Standing Sideways


His luxuriously long black and red coat, engaging eyes and dashing good looks have earned him the nickname “Mr Clooney”; a reference to another “Mr Clooney” many of us ladies swoon over. This canine version is now also sporting a distinguished sprinkling of silver around his face and, as with George, it has done nothing to diminish his appeal.


Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Headshot

The bond between Kaiser and Merran, his adoring guardian, is obvious as soon as you meet them. They have been housemates since Kaiser was 8 weeks old and as time progressed they also unexpectedly became work colleagues.

Not only is Kaiser in demand but he also introduced Merran into the world of film and television and she now works as a handler with other dogs on various productions. So it really has been a match made in heaven for these two.

Like many large dog breeds, Kaiser was responsive to being rewarded with treats for being such a well mannered and co-operative subject in the studio. As you might imagine he was also very responsive to commands and was joy to work with.


Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Standing

May he continue to be in hot demand in the film and television world.


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Melbourne Photographer Captures Cute Cavoodle

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, October 21, 2016
I hope you enjoy this video I made about a very cute puppy called Hollywood and his mum Jennie.


I would love to hear what you think.




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Bulldog Fans Shot by Pet Shots Photography

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 05, 2016

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With the exciting win by the Western Bulldogs in the AFL Grand Final this year it seemed only appropriate to photograph a Bulldog to celebrate the momentous occasion. 


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So it was that this Australian x English Bulldog, donned the club colours and posed perfectly as a loyal and excited supporter. I could not have asked for a more cooperative and fun canine model.

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Clover Bell enjoyed endlessly chasing a small football up and down the aisles of the grandstand, slobbering copiously all over it as she did so. 


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You can tell by her swollen, extended tongue that this gorgeous girl was enjoying her active outing. The more tongue exposed the greater the ability to keep cool but I did marvel at how such a big muscle would ever fit back inside her mouth when she closed it.


PetShotsPhotography-Bulldog-Man-Grandstand

I waited for the moment when Clover would reward Cal with a full wet slap on the face but she was a true lady with manners and was content to be just held and cuddled by him.

PetShotsPhotography-Bulldog-Man-Talking

PetShotsPhotography-Bulldog-Man-Lap

Read stories about other pets I have photographed.

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Photography of A Shy Brindle Dog

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pet-Shots-Photography-Mastiff-Bulldog


Nervous and unsure are the best words to describe this sizeable dog. She is nervous of people but people are equally, or even more so, as unsure of her. 

This six year old is a large, powerful dog of mixed origin, all of which are considered as dangerous breeds - American Bulldog, Mastiff and Pitbull. As a result people are very wary around her and no-one quite trusts her. Because of her appearance, which she would be completely unaware of, she is not the kind of dog that people rush up to pat and cuddle. I think it makes her a little sad as all the other dogs in her extended family are greeted in a much more enthusiastic way by visitors and strangers alike.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Mastiff-Bulldog-Garden

In reality Ella is very shy and a bit of a scaredy-cat and laps up any affection afforded her. She was nicknamed Bubbaloo by her family which was quickly shortened to Bubba. She studies you intensively with her inquisitive stare but fortunately has never made an aggressive move towards anyone. 


Pet-Shots-Photography-Mastiff-Bulldog-Window

She makes an excellent guard dog because one glimpse of her over the fence and no attempt would ever be made to trespass. Her favourite places to observe her world are elevated ones - on top of the outdoor table and stretched out along the back of the couch looking out the window.

She also has excellent hunting skills which mean that mice and rats don’t dare to set up home on her property.

Although spayed, Bubba’s mothering skills were brought to the fore recently when another brindle puppy of a different breed joined the family. Peculiarly she seemed to think that Eddie was her puppy and let him suckle her. They have formed a strong bond and now curl up together to sleep on the same dog bed or couch if they can score it. It is a heartwarming sight to see the softer side of this perhaps misunderstood dog.




Read stories about other pets I have photographed.

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Eager Greyhound Wins Photography Award

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pet Shots Photography-Greyhound-AIPP-Award


This fleeting little scene appealed to me the moment I spied it and I was delighted to click the shutter and record it forevermore. 

At the time it felt like a winner and so it proved to be when it earned me a Silver Award in the recent 2016 Australian Institute of Professional Photography Awards.

I love the quirkiness of glimpsing only half the subject but immediately understanding the full story with the clock suggesting Benny is ready for his evening walk. Although the image is humorous, excursions to nearby parks were something this lithe dog considered a serious matter and eagerly looked forward to. 

Shortly after I photographed him, this rescued Greyhound Wolfhound cross moved to England with his adoptive parents Jackie and Nigel. No doubt he has discovered new open spaces to explore where he can endlessly run around after his ball.

Read an earlier post about this dog and see just how handsome he is from the front.


I would love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment below.



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Rescued British Bulldog Finds Love

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, June 27, 2016

Pet-Shots-Photography-British-Bulldog-Profile


Vito is not sure what traumas Snookie suffered in the past but when she came to live with him she was extremely timid and anxious. Taking her into his care has meant devoting himself to improving the life of his adopted British Bulldog.

 


It took a long time for her to feel confident enough to come out of her crate in his presence. Initially she would only venture out of it during the dead of the night to feed from her bowl when she was certain Vito was sound asleep.

Pet-Shots-Photography-British-Bulldog-Snuggling

Happily Vito’s perseverance, love and patience has paid off and Snookie can now walk on a lead, meet other people and explore her neighbourhood without being petrified. Understandably she is now very loyal and affectionate with her rescuer and known to plant big sloppy kisses on his cheek. In turn she has taught him responsibility and brought him happiness.

Pet-Shots-Photography-British-Bulldog-Kissing


These two now enjoy daytime outings to their local parks and spend their evenings curled up together on the couch. Domestic bliss for both of them!  

Pet-Shots-Photography-British-Bulldog-Looking Up


 Snookie featured in my latest fund raising coffee table book featuring stories and photos of people and their pets. If you would like your pets to star in the fourth edition please register your interest here. I would love to have you on board!

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Rhodesian Ridgeback photographed in Melbourne Parkland

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All dogs are special but some burrow themselves so deeply into human hearts that they become THE SOURCE OF JOY in their companion’s lives. This is how Dawn regarded Bella.

    

I photographed these two a few years ago now as subjects for my second fund-raising book Connected Tales 2. I recall a fun time in parkland Bella had not previously visited. We were both amazed and amused at how keen her senses were and how she drew our attention to every creature in the undergrowth and the possums sleeping in the trees; critters we would probably have never noticed if left to our own inadequate observations.

Recently Dawn contacted me again. This time it was with the sad news that her beautiful rescued Rhodesian Ridgeback cross had struggled through unbeatable cancer. She wondered if I still had the photos. I suggested that, in honour of Bella, I make her an animated slideshow of her 40 favourite images. Dawn thought that would be a great idea and then wrote me this touching letter of appreciation.


Hi Lesley,

The mail has arrived ..... I just need to tell you that it was a great deal more than I thought it would be. I was expecting one page with one image on it, then scroll forward to the next.

Yes, I have wept and wept ..... so obviously there is more grief inside ... but what you have done for me, I cannot thank you enough for.

I had forgotten some of the placements we had - some of the images of me with her are just so moving and it really and truly captures just exactly what the relationship was that I had with her - even then only having her some 6 weeks or so. The connection only grew stronger - hence the deep void now she's gone.

Yes, it will give me great comfort. Once the tears stop I know I will cherish every single frame and see her personality, her curiosity and interest in everything that was around her that day - and know that was precisely my girl.

I will frame one of the pages you also sent .. I wasn't expecting that either as it is just beautiful.

I've had anticipation all week on this coming and I guess the pressure valve has now been released. I'll put this on my digital frame and play it on the TV later tonight.

I'm really truly overwhelmed at all you have done and so very grateful to you for the suggestion.  This will stay with me, life long.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful that I can have these images. It was a magical day for me.

Dawn x


P.S. I am now taking bookings for my fourth coffee table book. If you would like to feature with your pet please let us know and, like Dawn and Bella did, you can help us raise funds for animal charities.

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