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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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Melbourne Pet Photography - Pets In The City

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A beautiful setting for a portrait of a beautiful family

These three pooches are all gorgeous, gentle souls who recently enjoyed an outing in the city to have their photos taken with their mum and dad, Susan and Steven.

Charlie and Oscar are both Moodles but have totally different personalities and play different roles within the family. Oscar, pictured here with his favourite treat ball is the boss of the trio or perhaps even all five family members.

Cuddly Charlie, whom I am told, loves to suck on the feet of his stuffed hippo showed no interest in it on the day. Too many other interesting things going on - new things to watch, new smells to sniff and new nooks and crannies to explore.

Holly was rescued and has become a vital member of this family. She runs everyday with Steven and like most Border Collies is very smart and happy. She is obsessed with balls but won’t pick one up until she is given the command to do so. I adore this photo of her patiently waiting and keeping her eyes squarely on her desired prize. She also loves to affectionately share kisses with her human companions.

This family will feature in the second edition of Connected Tales, a coffee table book celebrating the relationships between people and their pets. If you would like to feature in this book with your pets, your $95 participation fee will be donated to Animal Aid to assist them with the wonderful work they do rescuing and re-homing dogs and cats. Register here to be part of this worthy project.


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Pet Photography Melbourne - Easter Bunny

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, March 23, 2012

 Archie enjoying some affection

Archie, a Dwarf Lop Eared Rabbit, is rather fond of a cuddle. Katrina loves to read. When she is lying on the couch, bed or lawn with a book Archie sees this as an invitation to share some intimate time and enjoy a few pats. Archie’s coat is so soft to touch it would be hard for Katrina to resist indulging him.

He also has a penchant for strawberries and Katrina said he will stand erect on his hind legs to reach them. After eating several he looks like he is wearing lipstick. Sounds soooo cute but I wasn’t to see him with red lips on the day I photographed him. Although we had three punnets as a treat for him, Archie decided not to eat more than a few of the leaves. He did however treat himself to several pansies, his other favourite food.

Archie will feature in the next edition of our fund raising book Connected Tales. If you would like to be included with your pet, please register here. We would love to have you on board.


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Pet Photography - Model Dog

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cindii taking centre stage

I have to admit that I could easily have taken this little dog home to live with me. She is super affectionate and has personality plus. It is easy to see why Stephen and Carole adore her so much. Unexpectedly she spent time with other families before coming to live with them and I just can’t imagine why others didn’t want to keep her forever.

Cindii, a Shih Tzu Poodle cross, is just a delight. She smiles all the time and is so eager to please and pose for the camera. It could help that Stephen is studying photography and Cindii is one of his favourite subjects so she has had a great deal of practice in front of the camera. 

I just loved working with her and bearing witness to all the fine tricks she can do such as jumping through hoops, standing on her hind legs and shaking hands. She seems to get such joy out of doing all these things.

Cindii featured in our first coffee table book Connected Tales. If you would like to star with your pet in our next edition please register here.


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Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, August 19, 2011

Echo retrieves again and again and yet again

It is such a delight to watch the endless joy certain dogs experience from fetching, especially when in the water. I am sure we could learn something from them about how to surrender ourselves to the pure pleasure of having fun. They have it nailed.

From the moment we arrived at the beach Echo was excited and ready to play with her ball and retrieve sticks from the long stretches of sand and the water. She found it very hard to wait while we took other family photos and showed great excitement when she was finally freed from her lead.

Echo, a Labrador Kelpie cross was adopted as a puppy from Animal Aid and has brought much love and laughter to Natalie and Evan. She now has the important role of teaching her new sibling Betty the ropes (see the blog written on August 12th). Betty is attached to her like a shadow but Echo doesn’t seem to mind in the least.

Annie commented on 22-Aug-2011 01:09 PM
What white teeth he has too. Who gets tired first, bet it is the person throwing the stick! Great photo too. Keep it up your standard is high.

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True Companions

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Margaret and Xisca share a deep affection for each other

When she retired Margaret decided the time was right to adopt a lap dog into her family. Being a responsible person she made the decision to choose a dog that needed rehoming and went to Animal Aid in search of her new companion. At the time they had no suitable small dogs but Margaret did not return home alone.

Her heart was stolen by a young border collie who was so scared she couldn’t walk and of course Margaret couldn’t resist rescuing her and introducing her to a happier life. As you can see from this photo there is now a deep love shared between the two and they have become inseparable. 

Xisca loves to play with her ball and in doing so soon turned Margaret’s prized backyard into a dirt run. Nothing a few thousand dollars and brick paving couldn’t fix though! As you can see what she gives to Margaret is way more precious, in fact I would say it is priceless.

Annie commented on 19-Aug-2011 07:50 AM
Wow, what a lovely story and a very lucky dog. I am sure Margaret will have many happy years of love with her new friend and, maybe with a bit of luck, can teach it new tricks and good manners too. Dogs are lovely and very true to you too when treated right as Xisca will be.
Lesley commented on 30-Oct-2011 03:41 PM
Another divine photo Lesley ... it gives me goose bumps when pets and people 'find each other' through the shelter ... thanks for reflecting these relationships so beautifully
Anonymous commented on 12-Oct-2012 10:43 PM
Hi Lesley - Just wanted to let you know that Xisca passed away on 22 September, she was 15-1/2 years old, a wonderful life, we had many loving years and will always be thankful for your photos and the enjoyable day we spent with you last year. Next month mum will be turning 80 and we have reflected on the photos you have taken with much joy. cheers Marita

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Beach Belle

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, August 12, 2011

Betty shaking herself dry after her first foray into the sea

Doesn’t this photo just crack you up! I laugh out loud every time I see it. I love how photos trigger different reactions and this one leaves me smiling every time I see it.

This was Betty’s first ever experience of the beach and open water and she was a joy to watch as she ran around on the sand following Echo, the other dog in her family. Once she gained her confidence she loved being in the water and went in again and again following Echo who was engaged in the game of retrieving sticks.

Betty is actually a very lucky dog. She was abandoned in a school yard covered in fleas, very skinny, hungry and thirsty and without a collar or any means of identification. A teacher with a soft spot took her to a vet for a check up and discovered that she had a significant heart murmur requiring a heart operation to open up an almost closed artery. 

Many would have abandoned her again at this point but her new parents Natalie and Evan had already fallen in love with her and gave the go ahead for the life saving operation. As you can see, the surgery was a success and Betty is now a much loved and happy family member.

Betty Sandra commented on 12-Aug-2011 08:52 PM
The most beautiful Betty in the world!!! You are very lucky to have such wonderful parents and aunties. We love you very much. Thankfully that teacher with the 'soft spot' took you home. A wonderful pet for a wonderful family (that includes you Echo.)
Anne commented on 13-Aug-2011 09:44 AM
Lucky, lucky dog and what a superb photo. You must be able to move quickly to get that one, and oh the eye!! You have great blogs and lovely photos to show us.

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Animal Aid

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pet Shots Photography is currently looking for people and pets of all kinds to feature in a limited edition coffee table book to raise funds for Animal Aid. The focus of the book is about the relationships between humans and their beloved pets and indeed between pets themselves.

You can see by the photo above that animals of different species often share great bonds and can be protective of and affectionate with each other.

Both Luca the domestic rat and Amy the Anotolian (Turkish Herding Dog) were rescued from situations where they were no longer desired by previous owners. Kerry, their doting owner can’t resist an animal in need and currently has three large dogs and five rats in her care. She even brought a dog in need back from a holiday in Port Douglas to re-home it with her Mum and Dad in Melbourne. That’s what I call devotion! 

If only everyone had a heart so ready to love and the ability to care unconditionally. 

Sadly this is not the case and many animals need to desperately find new homes. Animal Aid is one such organisation doing it’s best to find suitable accommodation for dogs and cats in need. They run a wonderful shelter in Coldstream, Victoria but are always looking for funds to support their noble work.

Through the book project Pet Shots Photography is aiming to raise at least $10,000 to donate to Animal Aid. 

If you and your pets can help this worthy cause and animals less fortunate please register here and we will contact you to discuss the details of project.

Thank you.


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It's Raining Cats and Cats

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, October 05, 2010

                              Missy enjoying a snuggle

Missy is a very pretty cat who was found abandoned on the roadside in rural Victoria. When surrendered to the Bairnsdale Animal Aid shelter in 2009 she was 5 months old and a real little character. She was lucky enough to be adopted and now resides in Box Hill with her loving owner. 

She travelled into the studio to have her portrait taken but t she is a cat who loves to go on adventures. She takes the occasional car trip to visit elderly friends and their pet dog in her stride. No point in being house bound.

Missy delights in playing hide and seek and fetch ... and yes she is a cat!  She just loves games and delights everyone with her playful and cheeky antics. I am sure you will agree she could win over anyone with half a liking for cats.

If you would like to give a cat like Missy a new chance in life go to Animal Aid and see who is looking for a new family and home.

Anne commented on 13-Oct-2010 01:27 PM
I could keep her too,and what a lovely photo she, and her owner, take. You take great photos Lesley, keep it going. Your photos make for many happy people I'm sure.
Lesley Humphreys commented on 28-Oct-2010 05:55 PM
Lesley .. this was such a great day for me and Missy and Fraser. Your obvious delight in working with people and their pets made this a real fun and 'moving' session. I think the cats were most amused when they saw you outstretched on the floor to get that special shot! You certainly capture the essence of that special relationship ... thanks and well done ...

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A Pet is Not Just for Christmas

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fraser stretching out in hope of a back rub.

As often happens this striking tabby cat called Fraser was adopted by a young couple as a kitten. By the time they came to move out of their rental unit they didn’t want him anymore.  And so they just left him behind. Abandoned him to fend for himself!

Fortunately for Fraser the real estate agent reletting the flat had a soft spot for animals and kindly crawled under the unit to rescue a very hungry and scared cat. He was nearly a year old when he was surrendered to Animal Aid in 1999 and put up for adoption.

For the last 11 years this handsome old tabby cat has been a faithful friend to his new Mum, turning on his motorised purr with great ease and always on the lookout for a hand he can nuzzle his head into. She loves him so much she bought him into the studio to have his portrait taken. He is a lovely old puss and I found it hard to imagine that anyone would have dumped him just because having him around didn't suit them anymore.

Animal Aid is a great place to find a new pet. Pet Shots Photography is putting together a limited edition coffee table book to help raise money for the temporary homing of pets like Fraser. If you and your pets would like to be in the book click here. Or if you are looking for a new pet to keep you company check out their website and see who is up for adoption -  www.animalaid.org.au

Barrie commented on 03-Oct-2010 08:31 AM
We used to have a cat just like Fraser and we loved him too and called him TeKay. When he went to cat heaven we missed him like crazy for a long time.Then we were lucky enough to have new neighbours with a cat who adopted us and called our place home too. Weren't we lucky?

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