Make Every 2024 Goal A Walk in the Park

Make Every 2024 Goal A Walk in the Park

We are already at the half-way point in January – can you believe it? A new year with a fresh start always seems so full of promise and many take the time to set some brand new goals. But let’s face it, statistics show that the majority of the goals we make at the start of January don’t make it past the first few weeks.

So…how are you doing?

Well, wherever you are, we thought it would be fun to put a little pet twist on the whole idea of achieving goals: Help increase your chances of reaching your goals by involving your furry best friends!

dog looking up at camera

1. Exercise more.

Dogs and cats love routine and once you have established one, they seldom forget. And that helps us!

You can make it your goal to walk a certain distance with your dog twice a day, explore a new park or conservation area by going on a hike once a week or once a month, or schedule daily playtime with your cat. (A cat dancer in your hands while running around your home will have them following you. Or, if you have one of those lazy felines, try throwing their toy and then let them watch you retrieve it because kitty is not going to move for that – at least you are getting some exercise!)

Once your pet comes to expect the activity, they will prompt you. And there is nothing more motivating than seeing happy, wagging tail waiting for you to get moving.

2. Learn a new skill or hobby.

Want to learn how to paint? Pick some art that features animals or perhaps learn to paint from a photograph you have of your pet.

Want to learn carpentry? Research and find some plans to build a dog house, a cat tree, or a perch for your favourite bird. Even if your pet doesn’t need this item, there is no doubt a local shelter or rescue that would love a donation.

Want to become a chef? Learn how to bake natural dog and cat treats. Research the nutrition behind the foods we feed our pets and see if you can start incorporating some home-made simple additions to their diet.

Pick almost anything you want to learn and see if there is some way you can either be involving your pet in the process or letting them be the recipient of whatever it is you create.

3. Save money / Spend less.

No-buy or a low-buy month/year are quite the thing and you can find all kinds of helpful tips by doing a quick Google search.

What was helpful for me was to look at where I was spending my money. As in, what stores? You know all of those reward programs you might have signed up for? Sometimes by simply consolidating where you choose to shop for items, you can accumulate points or rewards at a greater rate which in turn, allows you to access rewards faster. So, see where you are shopping for your pet supplies and instead of going around to 3 different stores because that is where you have always bought that item, try purchasing everything from 1 store. You might end up finding that you save time, gas, and money.

And do not forget the benefit of having a planned reward. Most researchers now understand that having something to look forward to at the end of a challenge motivates us to complete it.

So…start with a reward. Plan something for you and your pet when you have met your goal of eliminating your debt or saving a certain amount. It can be something simple or grand. The only requirement is that the two of you enjoy it!

4. Read

Start a list of books you would like to read and schedule some time each week for a reading session. Pick a comfy, cozy spot – but here is the caveat – it has to have room for your best friend. If your dog or cat is the type that joins you on the couch when you watch TV, they no doubt will join you when you are reading. Reading sessions that turn into snuggle sessions are the best!

If you want to go more pet-centric, choose books that involve animals. If you like non-fiction, try books that teach you about your dog or cat and how you can enrich each other’s lives. See if there is a pet-friendly book club in your area. And if there isn’t one, why not start your own with fellow pet lovers?

5. Travel

Plan a trip that includes your dog or cat. You can have so much fun doing the research and planning – discovering pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and attractions is a joy. If you are new to this, start small by choosing somewhere closer to where you live and of short duration. That gives you a chance to discover what items you need while on the road, to become accustomed to the rhythm of travel, and ensure that everyone enjoys their time away.

If your destination is one that it simply would not be practical to bring your pet, try bringing a stuffed animal that looks like him/her and photograph ‘your pet’ during your travels. You’ll come home with a lot of fun shots to share!

If one of your goals for 2024 is to not let another year go by without having your dog or cat professionally photographed, here is where you start:


Where it all begins

  • Pre-session Design Consult that ensures we create images you will be thrilled with.
  • The result is gorgeous custom artwork the life your pet shares with your family.
  • A personal Ordering Consultation to ensure you select the right images from the gallery.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Boutique™ Sessions can be found here.

Does your dog or cat feel guilt? Does it matter?

Does your dog or cat feel guilt? Does it matter?

You come home to the mess. And the look. You know the one – the head down, the puppy dog eyes that just cries out, “but…but…the pillow attacked me. And you were gone for so long. Please don’t be mad.

Usually that’s all it takes for our hearts to melt and for us to move quickly from irritation to forgiveness and love. And so we clean up the mess and move on to snuggles.

But have you ever wondered if your pet actually feels sorry or is it all in your head? Are they manipulating our feelings? Well, let’s look at what the current science says…

smug black puppy on sofa not feeling guilty

1. Dogs definitely feel emotions.

While some researchers believe dogs have the mental and emotional development of a 2-year-old human, all agree that they are beings with the capacity to feel. They are not robots and our relationship with them is unique and special.

2. Great! What types of emotions?

Researchers believe that canines and felines feel primary emotions such as fear, anger, love, and happiness as a response to what is happening to them. That’s good news for us – it means that they are capable of loving us and forming a close attachment. That’s not in your head!

3. However…

The jury is out as to whether pets feel secondary emotions like jealousy and shame. Guilt is considered one of the secondary emotions.

Also, there is a question as to whether how long after they have done something they remember it, and can therefore associate feelings of guilt with a certain behaviour. That’s why you’ll often hear the advice of only trying to correct behaviour in the moment. Coming home to a mess and correcting the poor pup long after the incident occurred may not result in him being able to associate the punishment with the crime.

4. I don’t know – he looks guilty!

Ah yes, that look they give you when you discover the results of the misbehaviour.

Science hypothesizes that the “guilty” look you see is more than likely a result of the dog recognizing your behavious rather previously being scolded for his/her unwanted behavior. They learn to associate “misbehavior” (whether they really did it or not!) with the adverse response from their human. Your dog is responding to your reaction to their action.

In other words, when you discover the mess and you sound angry or frustrated, your dog is responding to your behaviour in that moment without necessarily knowing why you are angry or frustrated.

5. What about cats?

Cats might look guilty but it’s more likely they are following their instincts. Their cower might be a fear response to your yelling (not guilt for doing something wrong) or they might be fighting with a new cat in the household to establish territory (not because they’re jealous).

In conclusion…

If you are dealing with a pet’s challenging behaviour, be sure to visit a veterinarian ASAP to rule out any underlying medical reason.

While we still don’t know for sure if dogs feel sorry for what they’ve done, we do know that many dog moms and dads feel guilty for losing their cool with their dogs.

And ultimately, does it really matter what the science says?

When asked the question, 74% of dog parents believe their dogs feel guilt after their rule-breaking.

And 100% of cat parents (totally made up statistic) know that a cat is going to do what a cat wants. I know that our two have never looked guilty. Rather I’m sure that they believe that their undeniable cuteness gives them a free pass on everything.

And no number of scientific studies and research is ever going to change that!

Personalized Pet Stickers: Show off your dog or cat's happy face everywhere!

Our awesome friends at Sticker Mule create high-quality, completely custom stickers that are perfect for sharing your pet’s face (guilty or not) with everyone. You can even cut them into any shape you like! Check them out by clicking on the button below.
Go Green: Eco-Friendly Ways to Enrich Your Pet’s Environment

Go Green: Eco-Friendly Ways to Enrich Your Pet’s Environment

Did you know that dogs, cats, and other pets can get bored just like we do? And just like us, keeping our pet’s minds and bodies active is important for their health. Left unchecked, it can lead to stress and unwanted behaviours.

So, what to do? Adding stimulation into your pet’s life does not have to be time-consuming, overwhelming, or expensive. Check out these easy and eco-friendly pet-parent projects you can try this spring. April is the home of Earth Day after all!

woman running with dog in the GTA

1. Build a cardboard box maze.

So if you have ever had a cat, you will know that they have a real love of boxes. A couple of boxes might be all your pet needs for enrichment – it encourages exploration, exercise and entertainment. During the pandemic when Toronto was in lockdown, we built a box ‘maze’ for our 2 kitties. We simply added to it each time we had a delivery (which was how we were getting most things then) and it ended up being about 3 boxes high and 10 boxes per ‘floor’. Simply cut out holes (make sure they are big enough!) so that they can move from ‘room’ to ‘room’. Hide treats for an extra reward.

Dogs often like playing in cardboard boxes too! Just make sure that the boxes are big enough.

Pro tip: Our dogs and cats do not care if the aesthetic is off…this maze does not have to be a beautiful work of art. (notice I haven’t posted a photo here of ours…ha! ) The important thing is to ensure that it is safe and that your pets are supervised.

2. DYI Treat Game

Where do all those little paper towel and toilet paper rolls go when you are done? If you are trying to care for the planet, you probably put them in the recycle bin as a first step.

But now you can get your pet involved in your green life and give them a reward at the same time. Turn those discarded toilet paper rolls into a little DYI treat game. This is great for dogs and cats that like to hunt and work for their treats.

Pro tip: Supervise play, especially for pets that enjoy eating cardboard.

3. Go for a walk or run.

Ok, not every cat is going to be into this one, but using your feet is a wonderful way to enrich your dog’s life while helping to de-stress you both. Add in running an errand that you would otherwise use a car for, and you both are doing your part to save the planet.

Pro tip: If you are considering running with your dog, ensure that you assess both of your fitness levels. Just as we cannot go from couch to a marathon in one session, careful training plans and endurance building is the key to keeping both of you injury free.

Looking to book a session for your dog or cat?

We have a number of options including outdoor, studio, in the home, and our popular A Year in the Life series sessions.

Meaningful Ways to Capture Those First Moments With Your Puppy or Kitten

Meaningful Ways to Capture Those First Moments With Your Puppy or Kitten

Were you the person who knew that your dog or cat was for you as soon as you saw them? When we first met Bentley at Pet Smart where he was being housed during his rescue days, we knew that we were meant for each other. It would appear that Bentley did too and he was very intent on closing the deal. I remember that he confidently strutted out of his cage and came out begging to be picked up. And when I willingly did that, he instantly snuggled into my neck. My husband and I looked at each other and whispered…I think he’s the one.

tabby cat portrait on dark grey

Our first few months together flew by. Just like all new cat parents, those early-love days with Bentley were full of learning, but we had the opportunity to make lots of one-of-a-kind memories and set the stage for our life together.

Here are some of the things we did to celebrate those first few months and develop our lifelong bond.

1. Capture memories on your smartphone.

This is one that most people find unexpected, coming from me. After all, why would a professional pet photographer encourage people to take their own photos with a smartphone?

Well, here’s the reason: memories and events are fleeting and you cannot get that moment back. So…when the opportunity presents itself, take the photo with whatever you have in your hand at the time! When you look back at that photo, the memories will come flooding back and you’ll have captured it to enjoy it forever.

So, don’t forget to photograph the big events like Gotcha Day, First Walk, First Bath, First Haircut etc. But also some of those details: The colour and texture of their fuzzy fur, the toe beans, the huge paws. They change so fast, don’t let it slip by.

Pro Tip: Pick out your favourites and back up the rest of your puppy pics each month, so they don’t get lost or deleted. Afterward, you can safely remove outtakes from your camera roll so you have plenty of room for new photos and can avoid the dreaded “out of space” message.

young boy and puppy sitting on front porch together

2. Keep a journal or memory book

The goal is to capture the firsts, the best moments, the fun times and the silly abandon of your new dog or cat as they happen. In addition to weekly highlights, track their growth, the food and treats they like (or dislike) and anything that will be interesting to remember. Trust me. You’ll enjoy revisiting these moments in the future. When you and your now adult cat and dog are enjoying some quiet time, you can read through and be surprised with how much you both have changed and grown together. There will be little habits and events that you may forget ever existed. Or – and no one wants to think of this now – when the years have passed and you have said your final goodbyes, you’ll want to look back at a life well-lived. I know that in our case, the written notes we have kept on all of our pets are so heartwarming when we read them now.

Pro Tip: Don’t get caught up in the journalling you see on social media where every page has to look pretty and well-designed. Just get your memories down on paper to preserve them. We use a plain coloured notebook from the dollar store. Then, if in the future you want to design something around the memories you’ll be at your leisure to do so.

black Friday studio pet photography

3. Start The Great Adventure

Get out there and enjoy life! Weekly adventures help your puppy grow into a happy, comfortable adult, and build your own lifelong habit of seeking out new experiences together.

And for those who want an adventure cat, now it he time to start exposing them bit by bit to the great big world out there. That means getting them used to a harness, a backpack (or some other safe space for them), as well as the sights and sounds of the outdoors.

Have fun, but don’t overwhelm your dog or cat with too much stimulation or with frightening situations. Pay attention to how your pup or kitty is responding to new sights and sounds, and take a break if you see any signs of fear or stress like yawning, showing the whites of their eyes, shaking etc. Plan for short, fun periods of time together.

Pro Tip: Have an exit strategy if things get overwhelming for you or your pup. Even if you have planned to spend a certain amount of time at a location, be ready to leave early and return home. Snuggling at home is a perfectly great way to spend your day too.

bulldog puppy in front of CN Tower and Toronto skyline at sunrise

4. Book a Professional Pet Portrait Session

Okay, so full transparency – I am biased because I have a front-row seat to see how meaningful professional pet portraits are to dog moms and cat dads.

But hear me out: Not only does a custom-designed session ensure that you receive portraits that you are thrilled with, but an experienced pet photographer will also be able to capture the love between you and your pup. Even if you are camera shy, a professional photographer will make you look good. And here’s a secret, most people completely relax when all they are doing is simply having a good time with their puppy or kitten. No more awkward thoughts about what to do with their hands, where to look etc. You just love on them and let us capture it.

Pro Tip: You can always plan to only have your pet photographed, but I always encourage clients to dress as if they might get into one or two images. It gives you the option. And by the time we get to the end and you see how much fun it is, 80% of clients do get a few portraits too. Get in touch to discuss your perfect portrait session.


They call it puppy love (or kitten love)

Bentley is now 21 months old. When I look back on those first days and photos I am shocked at how much he has grown and changed in a relatively short period of time. I am so glad we took the time to build our relationship. Most importantly, I’m glad I saved the times we shared in words, pictures, and traditions. In some ways, I wish I had saved even more of them!

Did you do something else meaningful in the early days that you think more puppy and kitten parents should try? How did you capture those puppy moments? Shoot me an email or let me know or tag me on Instagram.

Looking to book your own new puppy or kitten session?

We have a number of options including outdoor, studio, in the home, and our popular A Year in the Life series sessions to really capture the growing stage. 

How do I get my dog/cat to do that? Effective Communication During Portrait Sessions

How do I get my dog/cat to do that? Effective Communication During Portrait Sessions

Learning to communicate with our pets – both our own and other’s – is vitally important. There is no way around it: understanding animal-talk requires teaching. Dogs and cats make all sorts of different sounds in different situations – they range from growls, barks, and meows, to whimpers, and whines – and everything in between. And their body language says a lot, too. But it can be challenging for us to understand exactly what our furry family member is telling us.

During my portrait sessions, communication is absolutely vital. We want to ensure that this is a fun experience for everyone…including your dog or cat. We also want to set ourselves up for success when it comes to specific images that you may want. The key to all of this is communication. So, how can work together to make the session success?

dog looking up at parents with smile

1. Know your dog and cat and the unique signs they use.

Dogs and cats are unique individuals. We need to understand the unique or specific gestures your pet uses, what they mean, and what you and I should do (or not) if we see it. It’s why I insist on a pre-session Design Consult for our custom sessions. This is where we discuss the words and cues your pet uses as well as what behaviour and activities makes them happy or, maybe, uncomfortable.

2. Educate everyone on cues.

Everyone in the home should be on the same page when it comes to using verbal and/or visual cues to ask their dog or cat for certain behaviors. If, when your pet jumps up, one person asks for a “down” and another says “no”, confusion is the only result. Understood commands help us develop a healthy bond with our pets and is a foundation for effective communication.

It’s also helpful for me to use the same cues during our session. I’m pretty good at noticing what you use, but if I inadvertently use a cue that is confusing to your dog or cat, please do not hesitate to let me know. Good communication between the humans means a successful session too.

3. Respect the limitations.

Here’s a scenario… During our pre-session Design Consult, you tell me that really want your pet photographed on this beautiful chair, by a window with gorgeous light streaming through. However, when I ask you whether they are generally allowed to be on furniture, you tell me that they have never been allowed on this chair/in this room/on any furniture etc. The problem becomes obvious.

Dogs and cats do not understand that they are in the midst of portrait session and that exceptions can be made for this event. When they are asked to get on said chair – one that they know they are not allowed on and perhaps have been punished for getting up on – it becomes a no-win situation. On one hand, they don’t want to disobey you (or me) in this moment and be chastised for not complying. On the other hand, they don’t want to do something that they know from past experience results in discipline.

On the off chance that we can get them on the chair, we will probably see uncomfortable body language. Which doesn’t make for a happy, beautiful portrait.

So, what can we do? Ask them to go on a chair they are allowed on. Place their bed by the window in the beautiful light. Go hiking in the woods and get them to sit on tree stumps. Or…you can start in the weeks leading up to your session date, allowing them on the chair. Good, positive reinforcement for a new behaviour.

4. Recognize that a portrait session is not a training session.

While we are going to try and reinforce your great training, we also have to be realistic in our expectations. The first thing I tell clients is: Please do not be embarrassed by your dog and/or cat’s behaviour. I mean it. This is a situation that your pet probably has not been in before and they are trying to figure it all out. If they do something that makes you pause, but is not serious or dangerous, try and let it go.

So, when your dog who ‘never jumps up’, jumps up on me, please know that it’s not the first time it has happened. I’m not frightened. My clothes are chosen specifically so that I can withstand muddy paws. It’s no big deal.

In conclusion…

Most dog mums and cat dads are ecstatic at how well a session with me goes. They are even happier when they see the final artwork in their hands. Seeing their beautiful dog or cat with their gorgeous personality on display…well, that’s what it’s all about.


Where it all begins

  • Pre-session Design Consult that ensures we create images you will be thrilled with.
  • The result is gorgeous custom artwork the life your pet shares with your family.
  • A personal Ordering Consultation to ensure you select the right images from the gallery.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Boutique™ Sessions can be found here.

Here’s looking at you…! | Pet Lovers Guide to Tech

Here’s looking at you…! | Pet Lovers Guide to Tech

No matter how much I love my kitties, I can’t be home with them all of the time. Obviously, I need to leave my home once in a while! (The most important reason being: to photograph all the dogs and cats of Toronto…)

But how amazing would it be to have at least some idea of what’s going on with our pets while we’re away? I imagine Panda and Bentley having a grand adventure together – Panda trying teaching him all the ways to open closed doors and sneaking all the snacks, while Bentley, as the teenage boy he is, doesn’t listen and tries things his own way.

While your dog or cat will definitely enjoy it better if you are home with them, for the times that you cannot, there is now all kinds of ways to keep tabs. Check out these fun techy solutions for pet parents that have both form and function.

dog sitting on sofa in modern condo

1. See what your dog is up to.

Indoor cameras are amazing for checking up on your furry family member. Maybe you are looking for all of their cute adorableness when they sleep, or you are trying to determine if their anxiousness is subsiding…a well-placed camera can give you lots of information. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! There are lots of indoor camera options, but if you want to go super simple, set up your iPad (or any other tablet/phone) to record video. When you come home, you can review and delete the recording.

2. Give rewards.

Think of all the great benefits of having a camera plus treat-tossing! The Furbo has tons of marketing showing dogs staring at it because it doles out treats. But the camera can do more than that – if you’re dealing with dog challenges like excessive barking or howling, you’ll probably benefit from the Furbo Dog Nanny because it will alert you to the behavior. As a result, Furbo has been known to save lives when the dog’s barking alerted the pet parents to a fire in the house while they were away.

While it was designed for dogs, Furbo’s basic features work for cat parents who want to check in on their feline friend, too.

3. See what they see – day or night.

Ever wonder what adventures your cats are getting into all day long? Me too! Bentley is the new guy around here and while he is learning manners when we are around, I’d love to see what he actually gets up to with Panda when we are not.

GlowTrack cat camera is super lightweight and after a gentle introduction of a few minutes per day, collar-tolerant cats can wear it when you need to know what they are getting up to. It captures clear video…even at night. Although it’s designed for cats, I think dog parents can have fun with this, too!

4. Track your dog or cat in real time.

Ever lost – or thought you lost – your pet? Remember that anguish? Not just for lost keys anymore, The Tile Pro can help you find him or her faster. This tracker isn’t made for pets, but it’s still easy to put on your pet’s collar! Great for when you’re traveling or even to track a cat that plays hide-n-seek inside your home…for hours.

5. NextGen playtime.

Who hasn’t daydreamed about being at home and playing with their pet instead of grocery shopping, sitting in boring meetings? When you cannot actually be home, PlayDate is the next best thing. It’s an interactive ball toy that you can control remotely via an app. There is a camera inside the ball. You can see your dog or cat’s adorableness in real-time and they can hear your voice via the two-way audio!

These techy gadgets are ways to enhance your pet’s life, especially while you’re out. But they’ll never replace human contact, of course.  Consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to be with your pet if they’re going to be alone for long periods of time.

Know of any other cool tech out there for pets? Tell me here.

The Dog and Cat Geek’s Guide to Interior Design

The Dog and Cat Geek’s Guide to Interior Design

Back when we got our first cat, Ripley, I was so excited to get our home ready! I remember going shopping for the bed, the collars and all of the toys.

Changing up your home is always exciting. And finding ways to make it an even more pet-friendly space is key to keeping you both happy and contented.

So, here’s my personal guide to making your home a stylish and functional space for you and your fur family.

cat lounging on beautifully designed chair

1. Add more washable, soft fabrics to your space.

Some fabrics are harder than others to keep clean. I really like the faux suede on our couch because it’s pretty resistant to scratches, tears, and cat hair. Especially as it has been treated to be stain-resistant.

Other great dog-and-cat-friendly materials include: genuine leather (or pleather), fabrics made from acrylic (great for outdoor furniture),  microfiber (keep a lint roller handy though), and vinyl (so easy to clean). Trust me – steer clear from tweed, chenille, and silk! Our first couch was made of a type of ‘pickable’ fabric and it was destroyed within weeks…

2. Laminate and tile for the win.

I grew up with carpet but it’s notorious for trapping odors and being difficult to clean. So, I vote for some sort of hardwood, laminate or tile whenever possible. They come in all sorts of colours and finishes so you can really create a space you love.

However, fair warning: if you choose real hardwood floors, you’ll probably want to pet-proof your floors and keep your dog and cat’s nails trimmed. And dark colours of any sort of flooring definitely show off the hair.

Of course, if you do have carpet, there are some great pet-odor eliminators and cleaners you can use, like Tackle The Tinkle.

3. Keep on top of the dog and cat hair.

While many have come to accept some dog and cat hair on their clothes, take care of pet hair in your home regularly. Trust me about keeping up with this! It makes all the difference. 

Vacuuming every couple of days (with some quick lint rolling in between) is fast and easy, and ensures that clumps of hair like tumbleweeds don’t appear around your home.

An added bonus is that if you have anyone (human) has mild allergies, they will be much happier. And, anyone (pet) who likes to eat everything they come across on the floor, will have less to chow down on and you will avoid finding wet deposits of thrown-up hair.

4. Use their stuff to accessorize your home.

Modern dogs and cats have a lot of stuff. But not all of it needs to be put away. In our home, we have specifically chosen cat trees, beds and furniture that matches our aesthetic and look really good in the living room.

Shop around for food and water bowls, dog beds, and blankets that go with your style and let it be part of the décor. 

5. Match your dog and cat.

Select pieces that match your dog’s fur or hair color. Your bedspread, wall treatments, pet beds, throw pillows can add an interesting element to any room. You can even go with a more permanent move like a matching accent wall or installing flooring that matches.

I had a client whose home perfectly matched the colouring or her cat. As you can imagine, the resulting portraits were absolutely stunning.

Which brings me to the next point…

6. Hang up a beautiful portrait of your dogs and cats.

My absolute favorite pieces of art in our house are the portraits I have of each of our cats. They are large (20×30 inches), properly framed, and they hang proudly in our hallway.

As a pet photographer, I am obviously biased, but ensuring that each client has beautiful portraits hanging in their homes too is what I do. The trick is to have a thorough design consult before any photos are taken. We talk about colours, personal style and yes, the aesthetic of your home. If you are including the artwork with a home renovation, I am happy to speak with your interior designer too.


So, there you have it! With a little thought and creativity, you can ensure that you, your cat, your dog and your family love your home.

I’d love to know what other dog and cat lovers are doing in their homes. What’s your favorite pet inspired interior design tip? Please click here to share them and let me know! (Send a pic too, if you can.)


Local Dog-Lover’s Guide to Toronto and the GTA

Local Dog-Lover’s Guide to Toronto and the GTA

Life in Toronto is fast-paced, expensive, and you can always find something to do. But it’s not just us humans who can have adventures around town. With so many dog moms and cat dads, the community is becoming more and more pet-friendly and there are ways to go out on the town with your dog or adventure cat.

Looking for something to do? I’ve put together a quick list of my absolute favourite dog and cat-friendly places around Toronto so you and your furry friend can adventure out together!

dog getting treat from mom

1. A pet-friendly patio

So many craft breweries are cropping up around the city and their patios often welcome pets. Take your pick from Black Lab Brewing (Leslieville), Stone Lion Pub (The Beaches), Mill Street Brewery (Distillery District), High Park Brewery (The Junction), and Brunswick Bier Works (East York). Some feature pet menus, a treat from your server, or special pet-themed events. Check them out and let us know your favourites!

If you’re looking for non-alcoholic options, check out your local Starbucks, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, Tom & Sawyer, and Rooster Coffee House.

2. A night away with your best friend.

A few years ago, we were planning a special family event and wanted to include the dogs. I phoned hotel after hotel and could only find TWO that accepted pets. Fast-forward to today and thankfully travel is getting easier for pet parents. From dog-friendly hotels to awesome pet lodges, if you need to leave town (or even go on a well-earned staycation), you now have choices.

If you want to splurge, I highly recommend Hotel X. (Shameless plug: We are their designated pet photographer so you can include a photography session during your stay – see link) Not only do they welcome your dog or cat with its own bed, treats, and other goodies, but the view is to die for!

3. Have a day of pampering and shopping.

There are groomers and then there are the groomers at Hound & Purr. The owner, Victoria, has many fans among the cute and furry and her team of groomers gets high praises from the humans too! One of the best things is that they not only just groom dogs – they have special cat days so that fabulous felines can get their well-deserved pampering in an environment free of stress.

Hound & Purr is also an independant boutique and Victoria works hard to bring in local and unique items. So you and your pet can have a great shopping experience too.

Know of an awesome dog-loving spot I missed? Send me a quick message here and let me know! I’m always looking for new places to check out.
Your Pet’s 360 – The Most Important Relationships in your Dog and Cat’s Life

Your Pet’s 360 – The Most Important Relationships in your Dog and Cat’s Life

dog family photographer

When I worked in Human Resources, we used to conduct what are called 360s for all of our management and high-performers. One reason being, you wanted to see how healthy their relationship was with the people around them and make tweaks as necessary. (I’m purposely being very brief here…ha!)

When it comes to our pets, the relationships our dogs and cats have with the people and animals in their lives also need to be healthy. We need to take stock and see what is working and what might need some changes.

The first step is identifying the people that have the most impact on your pet’s well-being. So, read on to see our list of the people who we feel are important to your pet’s own happy, healthy life. 

1. YOU (of course!)

In this case, you know you are #1. You are the one constant in their life and your pet looks forward to time spent with you, even if it is just in the mundane things of life. Spending time with them is vital.

In our house, Panda, is incredibly bonded to my husband I. Especially as we had to say goodbye to her furry brother, Baxter, last December.

We spend at least 20 minutes a day in active play where she zooms around all of the rooms. And, since the pandemic, she has learned new skills: she now knows that the words “let’s go to work!” mean that she will hop up on her bed beside my desk and has quickly become the best co-worker ever; she recognizes the sound of coffee being made to mean that lactose-free milk will be not too far behind; and she spends the rest of the day either sitting on me or napping beside us. We are her world.

2. Their compassionate veterinarian

Next to you, your pet’s veterinarian and clinic staff may be the most important people in his or her life. So, it’s vital that you cement that relationship with an annual check-up in addition to visiting when your pet doesn’t feel well. Or just drop in to say “hi!” so vet visits aren’t always scary. While the pandemic has made this more of a challenge, speak with your veterinarian to see what can be arranged.

We’ve always chosen our vets on the fact that they are exceptionally compassionate and truly care about our pet’s well-being. That, coupled with no “guilt trip” when discussing expensive medical options when helping us to navigate the unavoidable goodbye, has made us loyal to our clinic for 20 years.

And if you are in a bind and need emergency advice, there are services like Vetster, that are on-call, 24-hour connections to veterinarians.

3. Their reliable pet-sitter

Some pets grow to really love their pet sitter, whether they are a professional or your best human friends. Not only do they go to great lengths to make sure your dog has loving company, food, water, and exercise, they make sure your home is safe and secure, too.

A point about cats: While some feel that they can leave cats for days on end with ‘enough food’, I believe that it is not enough. We have never left our cats overnight without someone staying with them. It started with Ripley, who had terrible fears of being abandoned (he was a rescue who had his family move on him and leave him behind), and it has continued with all 4 of our kitties.

4. Their furry best friend

Humans are great! But when it comes to romping in the yard or curling up for a nap, some pets really enjoy the company of their own fuzzy kind. Baxter was Panda’s very best friend. If your pet craves companionship from a fellow canine or feline, call a fellow pet parent for a hike or a playdate.

Or if there is room in your heart and your home, it may be time to adopt another pet as a full-time best friend. Of course, choose wisely. We are currently in the process of deciding whether Panda needs another friend. Her days and nights were filled with Baxter, so she’s obviously had to adjust. But, I know that if we find the perfect boy companion, we will welcome another furry heart into our family.

5. Their soothing groomer.

A genuine bond between a pet and their groomer often lasts a lifetime. A great groomer can take a stressful bath event and turn it into a feel-good spa day. The fact that your groomer understands your dog’s unique needs and your particular desires when it comes to the final result, makes them invaluable. Your pet’s monthly relationship with their groomer involves trust and respect on both ends of the table.

6. Their good time dog walker.

Cue all the butt wiggles when the dog walker shows up! When you can’t be home, the dog walker is the one you and your dog trust for potty breaks, exercise and just plain good fun. 

How to know if you have found the right dog walker? Check out the 4-step process here.

In conclusion…

Who are the people in your pet’s relationship circle? Friend, family, or professional, be sure to let them know how much you both appreciate their expertise, care, and affection. A card, text, or just a heartfelt “thank you” will say aloud what your pet can only articulate with a happy nudge and welcoming eyes.

You Might Be A Pet Mum Or Dad If…

You Might Be A Pet Mum Or Dad If…

While some dogs guardians think of themselves as owners rather than pet parents, Dog Mums and Cat Dads are an entirely different breed! You definitely have the rights to call yourself a Pet Parent if you can check off at least half of these pet-pampering traits.

dog giving dog dad a kiss

1. You celebrate your dog’s Gotcha Day.

You count it among one of the best days of your life – certainly of your pets. And yes, it is celebrated with presents, and parties, and cards, of course.

2. Their health comes first.

You’ve been putting off a big expense for your house for years, but when your pet needs a dental cleaning, you pull out your credit card without hesitation.

3. You call your dog or cat grand pup or grand kitty when you discuss your pet with your parents.

And in some cases, you let them know that your pets may be the only grandchildren they’ll ever meet.

4. Your phone’s camera roll is 99.5% pics of your pup

You will delete apps to make room for more photos. You happily show the photos off to complete strangers. In fact, you’ve made new friends that way!

4. You sleep with your pet.

Notice the wording: you sleep with your pet. Not that they sleep with you. After all, you all agree that it is their bed anyway.

5. The very first thing you do when you get home from work is hug your dog!

And they greet you at the door looking for the hug.

6. You’ve given your dog several silly nicknames — and a middle name, too.

And they greet you at the door looking for the hug. Our cat does this too. And if she is not there when I return home, I go looking for her to ask her why.

7. Vacation planning always revolves around your dog or cat.

Absolutely. Plans are not finalized until you have made arrangements for their care.

8. You cook for your dog and cat.

Recipes abound with tasty treats and healthy meals for your pet. You might even spend more time cooking for them than yourself.

9. You have closet envy.

They have a wardrobe because you dress your dog (as long as your dog “approves”). If you don’t do “costumes”, your pet still probably has a weatherproof jacket, a snuggly sweater, and even cats have at least a simple bowtie or bandana for special occasions.

10. You arrange for play dates.

Whether it is meetups in the park, regular passes to daycare of a sitter/cuddler/walker that comes in regularly, you make sure that your pet has a social life.

So…are you a Dog/Cat Mum/Dad? Let me know below and tell me what I left off of the list…

Bonus #11: You have had a professional portrait session for you pet.

For your dog. For your cat. Choose a photographer whose style speaks to you and whose images you adore! If you think you want one with us, see some details, below:


Where it all begins

  • Pre-session Design Consult that ensures we create images you will be thrilled with.
  • The result is gorgeous custom artwork the life your pet shares with your family.
  • A personal Ordering Consultation to ensure you select the right images from the gallery.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Boutique™ Sessions can be found here.

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss Your Pet? That is the question…

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss Your Pet? That is the question…

Here at Posh Pets® Photography, we are a divided camp. I have always regularly kissed our pets – after all, they know me and I love them. My husband? Not so much. He loves them just as much as I do, but he’s not a fan of putting his lips to fur.

But even I – a diehard fan of physical affection – knows that kissing your dog or cat may not always be for the best. So, here are 4 questions to ask yourself before leaning in for the kiss.

dog getting treat from mom

1. Where has that adorable nose and tongue been? 

All that is between your face and another dog’s bum is your dog’s cute nose. Where was it last? Burying a treat in the mud? Snuffling a dead squirrel they found in the yard? Licking their butt or that of some other animal’s? Think about that for a minute…

As for their tongue, remember that it is essentially your pet’s dinner fork and washcloth, lapping up food, cleaning up messes, and sometimes vomiting. Cats do all of that as well, but also use their tongue to groom themselves to remove dirt and debris. They don’t often lick you – but if they do as ours have – you’ll notice that their tongues are a little prickly. Be prepared for that sensation.

2. What is your health like?

Parasites like hookworms, roundworms, and giardia can be passed from pets to people. Pasteurella, bartonella henselae, salmonella, E.coli and more can infect both canines and humans.

Now, a healthy person won’t easily catch something from their dog or cat, but that is because of your robust immune system. But after 2 years in a global pandemic, we all know a thing or two about what happens when people with weak immune systems come in contact with illnesses. So, if you are on medications that suppress your immune system, or are battling a serious illness like cancer, you may have a harder time warding off infections. So, be careful.

Children and seniors may also have less robust immune systems, so perhaps stick to cuddles.

Remember too, the presence of allergies. Many complain of allergic reactions to cat dander. Dog saliva may be a more potent allergen than their dander. So, if you are allergic to dogs or cats, forget the kisses.

4. What is your pet’s health like?

If you choose to pucker up with your pet, keep it clean. Ensure they are healthy by having regular vet visits, de-worming as necessary and, picking up poop in the yard. Cats need regular vet visits as well (This month is #NationalCatHealthMonth which encourages cat mums and cat dads to take their feline’s health seriously.) Ensure that their litter box is kept clean.

3. Does your dog or cat want to?

Consent is everything. Lots of dogs aren’t comfortable with face-to-face contact. They may lick their lips, turn their head away, or show the whites at the side of their eyes to silently tell you NO. Respect their silent warnings, or nip or bite could follow.

Cats are often even more annoyed by kisses or even kissy noises. Often, they’ll simply turn around and walk away, tail held high. Respect their choice. And remember that they have claws. One well-placed swat and you could be dealing with infection.

In conclusion…

So, to kiss or not to kiss? It’s totally up to you. I photograph many clients who love cuddling up to their pet and we get gorgeous, natural portraits full of love and kisses. Others opt for not. Either way, let your dog and cat know you love them and your relationship will flourish.
Treats For My Sweet | What We Use During Pet Photography Sessions

Treats For My Sweet | What We Use During Pet Photography Sessions

It’s been a tough couple of years, but if there is an upside, it has been all of the extra time with our pets. They have seen us through thick and thin and, here in Toronto multiple rounds of lockdowns, so is it no wonder that we feel like spoiling them a bit? I know that here in the Posh Pets® Photography house, we are definitely making time for play and treatos.

Talking about treats, let’s face it: we all like treats – why would your dog or cat be any different? So, if you are in the mood to try something new (it is January, after all), check out the list below to find the tasty treats that we actually use during our photography sessions. I have a broad range of sizes and tastebuds in my discerning furry clientele, so these are all double and triple-tested in the field! The added bonus is that we try hard to support local, Canadian options, so we’ve included links and a few discount codes for you!

dog getting treat from mom

1. Crunchy

These beloved traditional “biscuits” are hard and crunchable (cronch is good!), and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Because they have a low moisture content, they don’t require seal-tight packaging and are a favorite of businesses who like to give their customer’s canine sidekicks a little something special at checkout. 

♥ What we use: Northern Biscuit from Concord, Ontario.  These biscuits are loved by everyone and they have the best names! (To receive 20% off your order, use POSHPETS20 at checkout. Valid until February 10, 2022.)

2. Soft + Chewy

These treats come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and flavors and are sniffably good! Because they are so attractive to canine noses and taste buds and can be easily broken into smaller bits, they are great as training rewards.

♥ What we use: Farm Fresh Pet Foods from Edmonton, Alberta.

3. Baked

Just like it sounds, these treats have that homemade vibe because they are baked in ovens. Single-ingredient, healthy options abound and they can often be broken up into smaller portions and used for training.

♥ What we use: Healthybud from Montreal, Quebec. (To receive 10% off your order, use POSHPETS10 at checkout.)

4. Freeze-Dried

Treats that are a raw food that has had its moisture removed through a freezing and drying process that sometimes includes pasteurization to decrease bacteria.  These intriguing morsels can be fed out of the bag or plumped up by adding water.

♥ What we use: Benny Bully’s from Mississauga, Ontario

5. Cat Treats

As you know, I photograph a fair number of cats and need some good options to keep the feline attention. We also have a picky cat at home – Panda has consistently turned her nose up at anything labelled a ‘cat treat’ and I have history of donating or throwing away bags and bags of treats. However, there is one that she will come running for. So, if you are looking for a cat treat, that might be one to try.

♥ What we use: Feline Greenies™ Dental Treats   The Roast Chicken and Tuna flavours are a favourite. Greenies are manufactured in the United States and imported by Mars Petcare Canada located in Bolton, Ontario.

Remember, treats are yummy but high in calories, too. You don’t want a pudgy pup or chubby cat! Choose treats that are appropriate to the size of your pet, and keep them to less than 10% of their diet. Use treats as a reward for good behavior, and both you and your sidekick will keep moving toward the best life ever.