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I first met Bindi last March when I photographed her and “little brother” Cosmo for my Tails of Sydney book. She was already starting to show signs of her age but I was still shocked when I got a message in January asking if I could schedule an urgent session before she was given her wings. As I said in my last post, Bindi was living with pretty bad arthritis. Her owner was doing everything to keep her comfortable but in January she learned the devastating news that her darling girl had a very aggressive type of bone cancer which was inoperable. I was on the other side of the country when I got the news but I scheduled a shoot at their home as soon as I got back.

I had mentally prepared myself for a very sick dog, not the same happy girl I’d photographed 10 months prior. Despite everything she still lit up the room with her smile.

smiley senior dog on couch very grey

senior red dog on couch smiling very grey

I brought her a toy, like I do for all my clients, but I wasn’t even sure if she’d be interested in it. Turns out she was. She definitely was!

old dog on bed chewing favourite ball

elderbull on bed with favourite ball

Cosmo had lived with Bindi since he was five months old. They had a very special bond and gorgeous matching smiles to show it.

two old dogs lying on bed together smiling

happy white staffy on owners bed

smiling white staffy on owners bed

After I was finished rearranging the bedroom furniture we moved outside to the courtyard.

staffy smile

happy fat dog on sun lounger

smiling old dog lying on sun lounger

senior dog with white hair smiling at sunset

old dog lying with head on paws

When we said our goodbyes I got a massive lump in my throat. I’ve photographed a lot of dogs that have passed away before I ever got to see them again but knowing that I’d definitely never see Bindi again really upset me. It’s taken me a long time to write this post for that reason.

Our session was on a Thursday evening. Bindi made it through the weekend but early the following week she let her owner know it was time. Their vet came over and she passed away peacefully at home. She was a special girl who’ll be missed by many.

We’d discussed Cosmo at the shoot and how he’d cope on his own. The plan was to adopt another dog once they’d had time to grieve. Several weeks later I saw my client commenting on posts on the Fetching Dogs Facebook page so I sent her a message offering to put in a good word for her when she’s ready. She replied with a photo of her new Staffy that she’d just adopted from the pound. She thought she’d wait longer but with the storms at the time there were so many dogs at the pound and she felt it was the right thing to do. I wholeheartedly agreed and insisted on dropping her product order over so I could meet the new addition. Our eldest Staffy, Angel, is twelve and a half now. Sometimes I get pangs of sadness that when she leaves us we’ll never own another dog as funny as her. Well, Pippi is just like her – right down to the ninja bed-wetting when things don’t go her way! It was so lovely to meet her. I have a feeling she’s going to bring a lot of joy (and naughtiness) to that household and help Cosmo and his person to heal. I’ve been told that I’ll get to photograph her once she’s learned some manners. I can’t wait.

In my eagerness to meet Pippi I never did photograph the acrylic collection and album from this session but there’s a flip-through of the album on my Instagram now. It combines photos from both of Bindi and Cosmo’s sessions with me.

If you’ve been thinking about booking a shoot with me now is my favourite time of year – it’s not too hot, parks and beaches aren’t busy (especially during the week) and I can wear my ugly vest with many pockets without people asking how I’m not boiling! Check out my website for more details.

With my Tails of Sydney book finished and at the printer I was ready to hang up my camera for a while and catch my breath. That’s when Cooma’s owner got in touch and asked if I could schedule a session as soon as possible because her rescue puppy wasn’t going to be a puppy for much longer. How could I say no to this face?!

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with head tilt and funny ears

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask lying on rocks with head tilt

“What’s that?” you ask. “Only one of those beings is a dog” you say! If you want to include two-legged family members in a couple of the photos during the session I’m happy to oblige.

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask sitting on rocks blonde toddler girl

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask at beach looking into the distance

Cooma loved running around in the sand … and running off to make new friends!

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask running at beach in Sydney

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask running at beach in Sydney with female owner

When the sun started to set we headed over to our second location for the off-camera lighting portion of her shoot.

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with sunset behind wide angle with OCF dog photography

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with sunset behind wide angle with OCF dog photography tongue out licking nose

couple with baby and puppy sitting on rocks with sunset behind

It really was a very pretty sunset that night. I can’t thank that flock of birds enough for flying in front of my lens at just the right time!

mixed breed tan puppy with black mask standing on rocks with sunset behind and birds in the sky wide angle with OCF dog photography

Cooma’s people chose this acrylic wall collection along with an album and digital files … all while Cooma slept underneath the sofa in my viewing room, safe from grabby toddler hands!

Did a new puppy enter your life recently? They grow up fast, get in touch if you’d like me to freeze this moment of ultra-cuteness.

Who remembers the last Koolie I photographed, Paxy? This is her little “brother” Rufus. He’s pretty cute, right?

tri-colour Koolie puppy holding red ball in mouth on beach in Sydney

tri-colour Koolie doing zoomies on beach in Sydney

tri-colour Koolie puppy running with red ball on beach in Sydney

I have a dog loving friend (who I won’t name and shame) who doesn’t like puppies. I don’t understand, they make me happier than just about anything else on the planet!!

tri-colour Koolie puppy running on beach in Sydney

big eared tri colour puppy standing on rock

Rufus (and Paxy) belong to a dog trainer so even though he was still really young at his session he already had some basic obedience. That really helps me do my job well.

brown koolie puppy posing on log at beach

The day of our shoot was one of the windiest I’ve ever worked on. Rufus did well to avoid getting blown into the water!

tri colour brown koolie puppy posing on rock at Sydney beach with dramatic sky

tri colour brown koolie puppy making silly face with dramatic sky using off camera flash for dogs

After we’d had enough of being blown around we moved up to the park to shelter among the trees. It was quite a long session for a puppy and I was starting to lose his attention (and cooperation) until he found this stick. Apparently sticks are more exciting than hotdog! (Don’t worry, we didn’t throw the stick or let him eat it.)

tri colour brown koolie puppy with stick in mouth at Sydney park with dappled light

silly brown koolie puppy with stick in mouth at Sydney park with bokeh

tri colour brown koolie puppy headshot

cute puppy tugging on toy

After all of the things we had to offer had lost their appeal we packed up and let the tired puppy go home to sleep.

Rufus’s wall art and album are currently being produced but I’ll share a photo on my Facebook page once they’re ready.

I’ll be launching an exciting project for puppy owners soon. If you sign up to my mailing list you’ll be first to receive all the details.

I shared some Vizsla puppies on my blog with you last year and now I’m back to share some more, because it’s the day after Australia Day and I know you’re in need of a puppy fix right about now.

The temperature had to have reached melting point when I went to photograph these pups. I don’t recommend scheduling a shoot in January but I make exceptions for puppies and sick dogs. Having spent the first 30 years of my life in Ireland my body just wasn’t designed to be outdoors when it’s 35+ degrees but I kept the complaining to an absolute minimum and got to work under a giant parasol. I thought the heat might work in my favour by taking the wriggle out my subjects but no such luck, for the most part they were just as squirmy as their relatives. All ten pups had their turn in front of the camera and then I did some candids and group shots. Enjoy the cute!

If you received this blog post by email, please click on the heading to open in a web browser so you can view the gallery properly. Click on the first image to open and then scroll using the next and back buttons or the arrow keys on your keyboard.

I believe all these puppies are spoken for but if you’d like to find out more about Metropolis Vizslas, and the breed in general, you can visit their website here.

If you’re a long time follower and you’re thinking to yourself that you recognise these dogs, you’re not mistaken. This shoot was Peityn’s third time in front of my camera and Kai and Zari’s second. They weren’t planning on booking me so soon after their last shoot but they were very lucky to win a competition that was run by BlackHawk and the prize was a session with me. They were so excited about winning that they SMS’d me the news before I’d even received the official email from my client!

They were keen to do a sunrise session with off-camera lighting so we met at the ungodly hour of 5.30am at a nice little waterfront location. I started with individual portraits to gently ease everyone into the situation. Seasoned pro Peityn was up first and decided to throw all her prior learning out the window. She really loves making me perform all my tricks!

shar pei at sunrise

lilac shar pei in front of sunrise

shar pei on rocks at beach

Although Kai was less than thrilled about the early morning shoot he was very good at just staying where I needed him to be.

blue horse coat shar pei on rock at sunset

blue shar pei headshot

blue shar pei on rocks at beach

Zari was just a tiny puppy last time I photographed her so it was great to see her again, all grown up. She’s so fun to photograph, always eager to please.

funny dog with big ears

black and white dog with big ears at sunrise

border collie mix on rocks at sunrise

When we were finished shooting with the light we packed it away and headed to our second location, the beach.

horse coat blue shar pei standing on rock

apricot shar pei in play bow

“I’ll just wait here until one of my minions gets my ball for me”

lilac shar pei standing on waters edge at beach

blue shar pei running on beach

kelpie x border collie lean dog posing on rock


black and white dog mid flight

We worked with the dogs individually for the majority of the shoot, for pack management reasons, but I made sure to get a couple of group shots as well, even though they were challenging.

three dogs posing with feet on a log

After seeing their gallery my clients decided to get a large framed storyboard, a big album, a medium float block, a phone cover and all the digital files.

I really enjoy getting to put my graphic design schooling to use when creating custom designed albums. Here’s a flip through of the album on Instagram.

A video posted by Ruth O'Leary (@ruthlessphotos) on

If you’d like me to create memories like this of your dogs for you please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!