Modern Ontario pet photography | Happy Tails Pet Photography » Wag-worthy images of your furry friend in their natural environment! Servicing locations in southwestern Ontario..

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” ~ A.A. Milne

Jacob, a giant schnauzer/wolfhound mix, needed a friend. His owners, an elderly couple, had both recently passed away. A senior himself at 14, and also deaf, it’s unlikely Jacob would have easily found a new home if his owners’ granddaughter hadn’t stepped in.

Always a fixture at the house when she visited her grandparents, Jacob had been a part of her life for all of his life. Stories like this make me a little teary and grateful that as a GTA senior dog photographer, I can be a part of that story. Not only did she open her heart and home to Jacob without a second thought, but she called me soon after she took him home. Knowing his age and declining health, she wanted to capture memories of him while she could.

In our pre-session communication, she told me about the difficulties she was having getting a good photo of Jacob. Not only is Jacob a black dog (a “black blob” in all her photos, she said), he’s also camera shy and would always turn away from the camera.

Using manual setting to get proper exposure and lots of patience did the trick at our session and we left with some lovely expressive images of this big shaggy guy that can be treasured forever.

jacob-5-copy jacob-8-copy jacob-9-copy jacob-10-copy jacob-14-copy jacob-15-copy jacob-16-copy jacob-19-copy jacob-20-copy jacob-21-copy jacob-26-copy jacob-22-copy jacob-23-copy jacob-24-copyI love photographing old dogs, and I especially love capturing the bond between pets and their people, so I was happy I could showcase the quiet affection and long relationship of these two.

Thank you so much for the lovely afternoon Jacob – so happy to spend the time together!

Are you having difficulty photographing your black or shy dog? I can help! Or, if you’re looking for a GTA senior dog photographer, please get in touch!



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If anyone has the elusive answer to that scenario — how to work full time and be a mom and a business owner — just head straight to the comments and spill because I don’t have ’em!

Perhaps nobody’s noticed — perhaps it’s just me. But I’ve been lagging a little bit when it comes to the business of running a business. My blog posts aren’t as frequent and I’ve put any sort of marketing/advertising on the back burner. Even the time I dedicate to volunteering has become more infrequent (feeling total guilt about this in particular).

These things haven’t happened intentionally. I haven’t made a decision to cut back in certain areas — it’s been a subconscious shift of my priorities that only recently became clear.

When I started Happy Tails, my son was a newborn. Back then, balancing it all was tricky — I was a new parent, and our days were punctuated with many nursing and napping breaks. But I was on maternity leave, and without a full-time job to think about, I did have those snippets of free time to focus on building my business. And this is the funny part: I thought (so completely naively) that it would get easier as my son got older.


You can see where this is headed — it hasn’t gotten easier. It’s actually gotten much harder, but for the best reasons. My son’s now five, and he’s busy and funny and curious. He’s keen on exploring new places, trying new things and packing our days with activities. One recent Saturday, we asked what he thought we should do and he planned our itinerary: strawberry picking in the morning, home for lunch, playing at the local conservation area, doing stuff in the backyard, dinner with a trip to the ice cream store, and then taking Chloe to our favourite leash-free area. I think I sat down at about 8 p.m.!

But I love it, and I don’t want to miss any time with him. I work a full-time “corporate” gig through the week that I commute to and I already feel like I barely see him. So if it comes down to writing a blog post or going for a hike with my family, I’m picking the hike. This is not the first time I’ve had to really reflect on my business and what works for me.

What does this mean for Happy Tails? I’m still taking clients (summer and fall dates are available to book) and giving them an awesome experience! I’m also trying to do volunteer shelter/rescue photography whenever I can because it’s something I really enjoy … but it’s more on a monthly basis rather than a weekly schedule. I’m not marketing or advertising (not that I did a ton previously), which is likely affecting the number of sessions I book … which can also be said for my blogging (fewer posts negatively affects my SEO). But sometimes you have to pick and choose – and I’m ok with this for now.

Cooper and Chloe

I believe that if you want to succeed, you have to hustle, and what I get out of my business is directly related to how much I put in, so I don’t think these are just excuses (?) … I SO want to put heaps of my time and energy into this little side business that gives me so much creative freedom, and I SO want to keep improving and be successful. But I’ve realized that what “success” looks like is always evolving and time is a precious commodity.

So, to sum up:

  • Happy Tails is continuing to book new sessions with awesome pets.
  • But I likely won’t book as many clients this year, since I’m not actively promoting my business, which I’m trying really hard to be ok with.
  • But there are only so many hours in the day and my son is super awesome and I want to spend as much time as I can with his awesomeness.
  • And, when I’m not doing that (largely thanks to play dates and grandpas), I’ll do my best to photograph pets in need and share what I’ve been up to.

Boy and dog on summer walk at Bronte Creek Provicial Park leash free area.

I would love to hear insight or advice from any of you out there who are juggling jobs or passions or priorities. Do any of you run a successful part-time niche business? Any tips? Can to share your success or failures? Or a joke to make us laugh? Please chime in!



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What do you do when a dear friend texts you that her beloved adopted chihuahua had to be rushed to the vet due to breathing problems and the prognosis wasn’t great? Pack your camera bag and head straight to her house the minute her little friend is feeling up to it!

I posted earlier about my friend Jane when she adopted her first dog, Ringo, a senior chihuahua who was a bit of an oddball. Jane loved that little guy and not too long after added George to the mix, also a senior chihuahua. On Christmas Day 2015, Ringo suddenly passed away. So, when the text came earlier this spring that George wasn’t doing well, I immediately offered up an Oakville old dog photography session at her home, so she would forever have great images of both her loves (no offense to her husband!).

I have Celebration Sessions just for times like this. I love photographing old dogs and I always advise people to call me before their pets get too elderly or sick. But life surprises you sometimes, and the timing isn’t always the best, so I always try to make these sessions a priority. Not only is it an honour to meet these wonderful creatures, but it’s also so fulfilling to know I’m providing their owners with cherished keepsakes that will last long after their beloved pet is gone.

George, 14, barked at me the whole time. He also showed me the side tongue that his late brother Ringo was known for. He seemed to be doing OK after his ordeal.

Oakville old dog photography for sick or senior dogs to remember your pet. Senior chihuahua dog portrait in Oakville home. Commemorate your senior pet with candid dog portraits by GTA dog photographer Happy Tails Pet Photography. Dog photography of small chihuahua by Ontario pet photographer. Outdoor dog photography of elderly chihuahua at Oakville home. Human and animal bond, pet and owner story in Ontario dog photography..

I’m happy to say that George is still hogging the couch and barking at visitors – he’s on heart medication to help with his symptoms. Not only that, but Jane has adopted a sister for George – at the spry age of eight, Milly, a chihuahua of course, is the youngest dog Jane has ever owned.

Senior dogs make great pets and Jane is proof that you can have room in your heart for more than one! There are so many great rescues and shelters in Ontario to find a senior of your own – a great place to start is or just search online for organizations in your area.



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