Rascals Pet Photography

– Natural images capturing your pet's true character

Spaniels at The Splash

Rusty and I were lucky enough to meet lots of dogs on Sunday on the Sudbury Water Meadows. It was a lovely afternoon and the dogs were intent on having fun – especially at the stretch of river near the Mill Hotel – which we call The Splash …

There we met 2 water- loving Spaniels, who dashed about in the water and along the bank in pursuit of sticks, balls and Rusty !

I was able to take a few images of the dogs as they played and was introduced to Harry – a very handsome boy with lovely markings. He had posing on the river bank down to a fine art …

 

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Harry the Spaniel on Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

The other Spaniel preferred to remain in the water and his gaze was fixed permanently on the stick that his owners were throwing for him. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to ask his name.

 

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I was trying to focus on water shots of Rusty and managed to capture a few pleasing shots of him with ears flapping and water splashing – this was my favourite!

 

Rusty in The Splash - Sudbury Water Meadows

Rusty in The Splash – Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

As Harry was still posing for the camera, I decided to take a black and white shot of him, which I feel accentuates his gorgeous expression.

 

Harry - Sudbury Water Meadows.

Harry – Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

Rusty then decided that it was his turn to pose, as he is used to being the most handsome dog around after all …

 

Rusty - Sudbury Water Meadows.

Rusty – Sudbury Water Meadows.

 

Thanks to Harry’s owner for allowing me to post his images – I really hope that you like them !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labradors & Water …

My weekend visit to ‘All About Dogs’ in Ipswich was more ‘All About Weather’ than dogs…..

I did get the chance to capture a lovely image of a Labrador Retriever doing what it loves doing best = Retrieving a ballin the water !!

 

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Handsome dog – totally focussed on the job in hand – Wonderful …!

All About Dogs – Easter Weekend

I decided to take Rusty to a special Dog Event over the Easter Weekend at the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich.

“All About Dogs” is a specialised event that takes place at numerous venues throughout the year and is dedicated, as the name suggests, to everything ‘Doggy’ …

The Easter weather was unfortunately very chilly, windy and wet – complete with hailstorms – and so was not wonderfully conducive to a relaxing day ( on what is basically a very large, flat and open field )

Despite this, Rusty won a 3rd prize in the Fun Dog Show ‘Gundog’ class before the heavens opened and most people left the showground.   I had intended to take lots of photographs of the doggy guests, however, the weather put paid to my plans.

I will share with you three of my favourite shots that I did manage to capture in between downpours – along with some thoughts about ‘Fun Dog Shows’ …

Now I love to see dogs in all shapes and sizes, handsome or cute, fierce-looking or ‘soppy dates’ … but I have noticed that there seems to be a real favouritism towards the less ‘handsome’ of our dog breeds when it comes to  Fun Dog Show judging. Now I know that I am biased, but Rusty is a very handsome fellow – and I saw a huge number of very good-looking or cute dogs in the ring alongside him.

Every time the winner was chosen, however, it was a member of a breed displaying less than its fair share of good looks …

Is this a fashion thing ? Or is beauty squarely in the eye of the beholder ?

I have noticed this trend over the past few years – with Bulldogs and Staffies reaping the rewards over and over again … I have nothing against these breeds whatsoever – and find them to be extremely characterful – as shown by the 3 images that I am going to post.  I do find it to be a very interesting trend though – and wonder if there is a swell of sympathy for these dogs, who seem to get a negative press for their presumed bad behaviour- when the vast majority of them are ‘big softies’ …?

I have spoken to a few people about these breeds, only to find that other dog owners and the general public tend to steer clear of them – because the wrong assumptions are made about their characters – and hence these dogs do not get to socialise normally and make friends. That makes me sad …

I suppose that you could probably argue that the owner of the crossbreed French / English Bulldog shown below is making a definite ‘fashion statement’ with the way she has presented her dog – and therefore she is playing into the hands of the dissenters …!?!

I would be interested to know your thoughts – especially if you have personal experience of one of these breeds. I hope that you like my images, which I have processed in monochrome in order to highlight their characterful expressions …

 

 

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Rusty’s Story continued …

I have to apologise for committing the “cardinal sin” of not blogging on a regular basis …! 

Lots of things seem to have become really hectic all at once – and I have neglected my blogging duties whilst I have been juggling a fair number of tasks – including returning to my part-time bank work after a 4-month absence.

The blog that I am going to post today originates from Rusty’s early days, whilst his fur and skin were still recovering from the mange, even though he was settling in well to his new home and discovering the magic of ‘playtime’.

The shots that follow were my first attempts at capturing Rusty having fun with his beloved tennis ball …

RUSTY – ACTION SHOTS

My front garden is south-facing and well enclosed, so I thought I would have my first attempt at some Rusty action shots. I had the camera set on shutter priority at 1/1000 and the aperture was registering between F4 ( the largest on my 24-105 lens) and 6.3. The ISO was set to 400 and I used the High Speed Continuous setting. Rusty was on the tennis-ball setting…..

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I was hoping to catch some shots of him pouncing on the ball in a ‘Scooby Doo’ fashion, but these were very hard to get pin-sharp. I may need to switch to my f 2.8 70-200mm lens for this next time in order that I can let more light in at the fastest shutter speeds. I was reasonably pleased with the following photo – but I will enlist some help with ball throwing next time in order that I can get a frontal view.

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I was impressed by several elements of the photo shoot. Not by my technical achievements, but rather by the opportunities offered by my subject. Rusty’s flapping ears gave a real sense of movement to the shots, and freezing the action enabled me to capture expressions that would normally be missed by the human eye.

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I was also fascinated with seeing how Rusty’s legs coordination looked when frozen by the camera. It is something that you cannot see working when things are going at normal speed.

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The following shot is probably my favourite profile image of Rusty so far….He was bringing the ball back to me when he heard some interesting noises coming from the house opposite. His attention was grabbed by this and it enabled me to capture a really handsome shot.

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From time to time Rusty would play a really ‘puppy-like’ game with the ball, and I especially liked this close up….

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My final shot for my blog today is one of Rusty pouncing on the tennis ball. You can still see how his ribs are showing, which is amazing considering the amount he is now eating !

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I am really pleased with my first action shot session – and encouraged that with more practice I could take some fantastic shots of other people’s dogs……

Easter at Marlborough House

It’s been such a beautiful day today and so I decided to get out into the garden to enjoy the sun whilst it lasted …

One of the things that I wanted to achieve was to take some Easter Chick photographs. The area by my pond in the front garden is south-facing and I still have a glorious array of miniature daffodils filling the area in front of the water.

The trick was to get one of my bantams to happily roam amongst the yellow blooms for an eye-catching easter-themed image. I chose my black Australorp bantam, Trumpington, for a good contrast in colours – and made use of some strategically placed corn to keep her occupied !

This was my favourite shot, as she seems to have a cheeky expression for the camera – I hope you like it ?

HAPPY EASTER !!!

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Noodle the Doodle …

It was a bright but cold day today – and I decided to take Rusty to Roman Fields – which is a very popular location for dog walkers in Colchester. Everyone is very friendly there and the dogs can really enjoy themselves chasing each other around on a wonderful expanse of meadow which was once the site of an ancient roman settlement.

Today I met Noodle, the Labradoodle  –  apparently, an Australian version of the breed – who was extremely friendly and placid (and rather cuddly to boot !) He had been with his current owners since he was 8 months old, after an unsettled start to life with various owners who were not really best placed for looking after an active dog. After some hard work on the training front, Noodle settled down into a happy, carefree dog – and his owner describes him as “having calmed down considerably now he is 5 years old”. He seemed full of fun and playfulness to me – just perfect !!!

One of the very first things he did upon meeting me was to lay down on his back so that I could give his tummy a tickle – instant endearment on my part – I fell in love with him and just had to get a quick photo.

Hope you like Noodle the Doodle …!?!

 

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Noodle the Labradoodle at Roman Fields, Colchester

Ready to Run …

 

 

It was a beautiful afternoon yesterday on the water meadows in Sudbury – cold but bright – and perfect for me to capture some action shots of Rusty Dog.

I particularly wanted to take some images with Rusty ‘poised for action’, because he strikes some excellent poses when he is waiting for his ball to be thrown. They can be athletic or goofy – yet in my opinion, Rusty always looks exceedingly handsome.

I’m entitled to be biased …

 

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Rusty on Sudbury Water Meadows

 

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Rusty waiting patiently for his ball

 

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Rusty on the old railway line to Rodbridge, Sudbury

Coco – or is it Cocoa ?

Rusty and I met a new friend on the water meadows in Sudbury yesterday afternoon – a huge bundle of shaggy fur, called Coco.

She is a cross between an Old English Sheepdog and an Alsatian and has the most gorgeous grey coat tinged with shades of brown. Friendly, yet mischievous, Coco made off with Rusty’s ball and refused to relinquish it. This suited me fine, as it gave me the chance to capture a few images of this beautiful dog …

 

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Coco on the Sudbury Water Meadows

 

 

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Coco looking gorgeous yet still refusing to give up the ball …

 

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My name’s Coco – I’m beautiful and butter wouldn’t melt …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of “Dog”

 

Do you ever feel like you have lost all  your positive energy ?

 

That’s how I felt this morning …

This is a bad feeling to have on a Wednesday morning – as I now have 2 days off to spend being creative and having fun with Rusty – so I should be on top form.

At the present time I have to carry on with my part-time job at the Bank that I have been working for since I left school 35 years ago – sometimes it’s not great and gets me down.

My creative spirit had taken a nose-dive and I was feeling lethargic; not wanting to do much at all but feel sorry for myself.

ENTER : Rusty the Dog

Rusty doesn’t differentiate between my good and bad days – he wants attention regardless. Cuddles, tug of war with his stuffed doughnut and “walkies”. No sooner had he scoffed his breakfast, he was parading around the kitchen with his collar in his mouth, with a definite plan in mind. Once I had put his collar on, he had found his lead and was ready to go !

I got myself ready to go out, more as an act of duty than anything and vowed to myself that if I could throw the ball for him lots on a circuit around the playing field, then my duty would be discharged.

He was so excited, as always, to be heading out on an adventure and was soon careering across the field after his ball – tail wagging madly. I trudged along behind; throwing the ball as required – still in my own introspective world. I was trying to convince myself that something would eventually make me feel better and that I should soldier on.

Once we had covered 3/4 of our circuit, we came to the kiddies play area and mini obstacle course. It consists of a bridge, a wavy platform of logs, some mounds of grass and a raised, narrow plank of wood for the children to balance on as they run around the obstacles. For some strange reason (as I have passed this play area many many times before) I suddenly had the notion that I could teach Rusty to run along the narrow plank and then complete the rest of the course …

 

Rusty on the wavy wood ...

Rusty on the wavy wood …

 

He was initially more interested in his ball, then in snatching mouthfuls of grass, however I finally got him to concentrate on the task in hand. Rusty is not the cleverest pup in the litter when it comes to fitting all 4 feet onto a narrow object ( and has fallen off a good number of low bridges into streams in his short lifetime so far ! ) and therefore spent a good 5 minutes either with one of his back legs in the air as he balanced precariously, or falling off the plank. I put his lead back on to give him more security, even though it was only a very low plank. This helped somewhat and I managed to get him to walk along most of it before he bailed out and jumped off. One of his endearing traits is that he loves to please and so I gave him increasing amounts of fuss and praise as he improved, making sure I took him over the other obstacles in between his attempts, so that he didn’t get stressed. He was great over the wavy wood and the bridge and so I began to get more excited, my mind taking leaps from imagining myself signing him up for an agility training course, to him winning agility medals at Crufts.

I was getting hot by this time, despite the chilly weather, as I was running around the course with him, so I took my coat off and rolled up my sleeves physically and metaphorically speaking. His lead was off by now and he was doing well, responding to my commands and finally running up on to the plank, walking the whole length and running down the end slope – AMAZING !!

 

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Rusty on the plank …

 

Needless to say, much fuss and cuddling ensued, followed by a few more practice attempts to check that it had not been a “one off”. I decided that we had done enough for one day – I didn’t want to risk overdoing things – so we set off again to chase ball …

As we returned home, across the remainder of the playing field, my sprit had been lifted, my ball throwing became fun and I laughed at Rusty as he bounded this way and that – doing one of his most favourite things. I felt so glad that I was lucky enough to know such a wonderful dog and that I had lots of exciting things to do for the rest of the day ahead.

So there we have it -:

The Power of “Dog” …

 

Rusty relaxing after his agility training.

Rusty relaxing after his agility training.

Rusty’s Story – Part 2

This is a copy of my second blog about Rusty the Dog, originally written on the 11th March 2014. It is really uplifting to re-read this entry and to remind myself just how much the two of us achieved in such a short space of time – and how close we had grown. The way Rusty coped so gallantly with all the baths, the tablets, the having to be kept away from other dogs whilst he was ill -was truly amazing and a testament to his accepting nature and courageous spirit …

 

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Rusty after his medicated bath.

11/3/2014

I have been the proud owner of ‘Rusty Dog’ for 2 weeks now, so I thought it was time to report on his progress so far…. and to post a few photos of him looking much healthier than before.

He really has undergone a dramatic transformation since my first post. He has had 2 medicated baths now to kill the parasites, and his scratching is down to a minimum. His coat is thicker and has a more glossy appearance. The wounds have healed and the fur is starting to regrow on his legs. His nose is still rather bare – but his facial expressions are now inquisitive rather than tired and doleful.
The Vet, who has been excellent in treating Rusty’s illness, has explained that an older dog takes longer to learn than a puppy. As a first-time dog owner I have really appreciated her support – and I am viewing the challenge positively. Rusty and I are learning together ! This is what we have achieved so far…..

Rusty is now really enjoying his walks. He is more confident and happy to explore. He has overcome his distrust of puddles – although still prefers to take the drier route ! Fences and gates do not worry him now, and he has started to pick up sticks and have a chew…He will run like a playful puppy to fetch his tennis ball – and he seems to have taken a liking to chewing old socks ! He will stretch out on his back and let me tickle his tummy – he is much more relaxed and contented.

 

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Rusty ( with ribs still showing ) enjoying his walk.

 

My greatest achievements have been to toilet-train him in super quick time and teach him how to sit.
He responded to my voice command alone for the first time last night – I was thrilled.

I know that there is much more work to do, but he is turning out to be a very quick and willing learner, and I am so happy that his life has taken a turn in my direction. I consider it to be fate that I was drawn 200 miles to choose him for my pet.
Rusty has given me so many rewarding moments so far. He makes me laugh, he stops me from feeling lonely, he has got me out walking, and I am so happy that I have been able to give him a loving home. By the licking I have just received I’m pretty sure Rusty feels the same way !

 

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