I received a call from Bill Smith at The Mainline Animal Rescue. A puppymill had just surrendered a dog to them and he wanted me to document the animal’s condition. He asked me to meet him at Metropolitan Veterinary Associates where he had taken the dog for treatment.

Bill nicknamed the dog “Shrimp” because he was small, pink and more resembled a crustacean than a canine. He was so emaciated and had lost so much fur, that it was hard to determine just what kind of dog he really was. Shrimp was malnourished, dehydrated, had ulcers in his eyes, mange, parasites and splayed feet from standing on the chicken wire floor in the rabbit hutch that had been his home. Shrimp was surrendered because he was not a good breeder, problem was, at some point he had been neutered!

Shrimp was weak and in need of immediate treatment so I had to work quickly. For the image of Shrimp on the exam table, the main light was a Canon 580EX speedlight mounted on a stand and shot into a silver umbrella at camera right. For fill I mounted a Canon 540Ex on a stand and bounced it off the low white ceiling. Both flashes were set on the ETTL automatic exposure. The 580 was set as master and the 540 was set to slave. Both speedlights were fired by an on-camera, Canon, STE2 infrared transmitter.

This combination works well indoors when both flashes can see the infrared signal from the transmitter and allows using multiple off camera flashes in automatic mode. I used a Canon 20D with a 28-70, 2.8 lens. I set the ISO to 100 and exposure dial to manual. I chose 1/60 of a second to burn in the background as there was some daylight coming in from a window just out of frame. I chose 5.6 as the aperture, to insure I had sufficient depth of field for Shrimp to be in focus but allow the bars of the pen in the background to go soft.



Rescued Pitbull named "Oogy

Rescued Pitbull named “Oogy,” used as bait in dog fighting.

Oogy was only four months old when he was tied to a stake and used as bait for a Pit Bull trained for dog fighting. His jaw was crushed and the left side of his face was torn off, including his ear. Afterward, he was thrown in a cage and left to bleed to death.

Shortly after Oogy’s ordeal, acting on a tip, police raided the facility. They found Oogy and rushed him to Ardmore Animal Hospital where Dr. James Bianco stopped the bleeding and stitched him up, saving his life.

After weeks of rehabilitation and foster care, a family adopted Oogy. They gave him his name because in his original state, he was just plain “Ugly.” Not feeling ugly to be a suitable name they settled on Oogy.

First thought to be a Pit or pit-mix, it became apparent on his first follow up visit, that at 70 pounds, Oogy wasn’t a Pit Bull he’s actually a Dogo Argentina. Dogos were bred to hunt mountain lions in “You guessed it,” Argentina.

While Oogy’s life had been saved, and he now had a loving family, he needed further surgery to deal with complications from his injuries. As the dog grew the scar tissue spread. He could no longer close his left eye and it wept constantly. His lip was pulled up and back. Dr. Bianco rebuilt Oogy’s face. He removed the scar tissue and grafted the skin until only a hairline scar remained. When the owners went to pay the bill Dr. Bianco told them Oogy was a no-pay.

I was asked to photograph Oogy by The Mainline Animal Rescue to help raise awareness on the horrors of dog fighting.