Today we are continuing our series of posts about photographers who have chosen to use their talents to give back to those in need. We hope you will join us each Monday throughout December and be inspired by their stories and their charities. Our featured photography charity this week is Scruffy Dog Photography which is owned by Illona Haus.
Scruffy Dog Photography was created five years ago when I chose to take a break from a fifteen-year career of writing novels, but the shooting started many years earlier. The inspiration for the business was two-fold: after losing my first rescue scruffy at only four years of age and having barely four rolls of film of the dog who had affected my life so deeply, I wanted to ensure that others were not left in a similar position. With this in mind, I then realized that there were no photographers in the area who specialized in shooting companion animals.
With a lifetime of shelter and rescue animals myself, it was a no-brainer to use my photography business to offer whatever I could to help raise funds and awareness in the world of companion-animal rescue through a variety of avenues.
Most pet photographers globally – pros and non-pros – give back to rescue by photographing pets in shelters and for rescue organizations. This is a time-consuming, heartfelt and admirable endeavor. I applaud all of those who selflessly help these pets’ chances for adoption with wonderful photos. And although I continue to do some of this shooting myself, I wanted to find an outlet for scruffy dog where I could raise necessary funds, as well as awareness, to change people’s minds about shelter pets and erase the stereotypes of these pets being somehow damaged.
Finding these outlets is an ongoing pursuit, balancing the full schedule of a very busy studio with projects that can make the most impact. The biggest of these outlets is the Kitchener-Waterloo and Perth County Humane Society calendars. Every year, two to three weeks of the Scruffy Dog Photography schedule is devoted to shooting and designing the calendar which raises thousands of dollars for the orphaned animals at the centers.
Scruffy Dog Photography also offers its services to local rescues, taking captivating photos of dogs in foster homes, since a good photo can make all the difference for a dog’s chances of finding a permanent home. Like One-Eyed Jack from Tennessee who is currently awaiting the funds required for his surgeries before being available for adoption…
Scruffy Dog Photography holds regular contests for session giveaways, focusing on rescued and adopted pets. And of course, there are always a number of silent-auction giveaways and pro-bonos given to charities throughout the year.
The most recent and exciting endeavor I’ve undertaken, going on right now, is the Scruffy Dog Photography Holiday Tribute Gift. This session-giveaway targets deserving individuals in the world of companion animals, whether that’s someone who works tirelessly for the welfare of 4-leggers, individuals working in rescue, or someone who is going through a tough time and continues to give everything to their beloved 4-legger. The nominations have flooded in, and I already know I have a very difficult decision ahead in choosing just one. (And I’ll let the cat of the bag here: there will simply have to be more than one recipient of this year’s Holiday Tribute Gift. There are just too many amazing stories coming in!) I definitely look forward to making this an annual tradition for Scruffy Dog and its followers and supporters.
For me, if I could do anything besides pet photography, it would be running my own rescue and training facility … but in the meantime, I do what I can, supporting and assisting rescue organizations in both raising the funds to help homeless companion animals, but to also raise awareness. I remain open to all suggestions, put the word out as much as possible , and every day I search for new ideas and new ways of raising awareness on an even greater, more global scale.
Illona Haus is the head scruffy at Scruffy Dog Photography, based in Waterloo, Ontario, sharing the studio with her own two rescue dogs. SDP’s clientele spans the province and beyond, with clients travelling from as far away as Chicago, NYC and California, as well as an international client base for commercial and stock photography. For a fun and furry time, “like” the Scruffy Dog Photography Facebook page and follow the Scruffy Dog blog.