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24.06.16

The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation

These 4 month old puppies were recently rescued from a dog meat slaughterhouse in Cambodia by the brave and incredible Marc Ching, from The Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation. Marc took 16 of the dogs he saved (including these two) to the Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society (PPAWS), where they received vet checks and vaccinations from PPAWS vet Dr Chamnan. All of the dogs were young pups, and if they hadn’t been rescued by Marc, would’ve been killed in the most inhumane way, then sold off for $4 a kilo. None would still be alive today.

We met these two lucky cuties, Hero and Brucille with their amazing foster Mum Lucy at a Pup-Up Market event held at the Sofitel Hotel Phnom Penh. Thanks to Lucy’s love, they are learning to trust people and each day they discover more new joys, like playing. They loved lying on a big mound of sand in the Sofitel gardens, and Hero, the male tan puppy, thoroughly enjoyed sliding down it time and time again. Such a simple freedom.

The Sofitel has a community committee which gives back to different local charity organisations by hosting events and sharing the proceeds. Tisha from Edgar Allan Paw helped organise and run the event, and Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society (PPAWS) will use the funds raised to assist them with the treatment of the 16 rescued dogs. We met some wonderful like minded people at the Pup-Up Market and it was an honour to meet Lucy, Dr Chamnan, and Tisha and to these pups.

Marc is currently in China working to save over 1000 dogs at the Yulin Festival. He is a man making a difference, standing before torture and death every day and putting his own safety on the line to save dogs. He cannot un-see the horrific sights he has witnessed, things you and I could not even comprehend – they are permanently burnt into his heart and soul. That takes a physical and emotional toll, but still he fights and pushes himself to do more. He is a hero.

If you support the shut down of the Yulin festival, please consider donating to Marc’s organisation http://www.animalhopeandwellness.org/donate/

‪#‎ForTheDogs‬

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24.06.16

PERFECT IMPERFECTION!

Look at that happy face. Beautiful Mya the Husky had her eyes removed after painful Glaucoma set in. Not that it bothers her. Her other senses are extremely acute and she can navigate her way around a room with ease from the very first time she enters it. To see her in action is amazing. Her nose and ears work together to help her plot a mind map and after just one lap around the studio she was familiar with the entire layout. ‪#‎MyaIsIncredible‬ ‪#‎WhatDisability‬ ‪#‎DogsRule‬

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24.06.16

PERFECT IMPERFECTION!

This is Jessie. She had a freak accident at the park and part of her spine sheared off and pierced a hole in her spinal column, causing instant paralysis to her back legs.

Her dedicated family wanted her to have the best chance at a normal life, so they started researching their options. They discovered HandicappedPets.com in the USA and ordered Jessie a custom made Walking Wheels wheelchair. As quickly as her mobility was taken, her wheelchair gave it back. She now zooms around with precision and enthusiasm. Jessie doesn’t dwell on only having two functional legs. She has life filled with love, fun, adventrues and wonderful humans. She is my doggie hero. xx

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20.06.16

LIMITED EDITION PRINT SALE!

Little bears can be very busy and the cub residents of Free the Bears Fund‘s enclosure number six in Cambodia are no exception.

‘Bear Apartment Six’ is a composite print made up of 16 photographs taken by long term FTB supporter Alex Cearns. The single images have been meticulously pieced together to form a visually enthralling scene of bustling bear activity, indicative of an apartment building.

Photographed over 90 consecutive minutes in June 2016, three sun bear cubs are the stars of the show as they climb in and out of their den entrance. Cheeky, joyful and adorable, sometimes they’re solo and sometimes they’re with their bear buddies. Each bear was rescued from the illegal wildlife trade when they were only a few months old, and will now be in the care of Free The Bears for the rest of their lives.

We have 2 year old Bearzilla, seized from people keeping him as a pet in Phnom Penh; Pooh, aged just under 2 years, surrendered by developers building a hydro dam in the Stung Treng Provence; and 15 month old Soriya Sundance, handed over by a Government Official who obtained her from ethnic minority hunters in the Mondulkiri Province.

You can now have your very own copy of ‘Bear Apartment Six’ as part of a Limited Edition release of 100 signed and numbered prints. Each print is 16 inches x 16 inches in size and printed on Kodak archival paper. A Limited Edition certificate is also included to validate the authenticity of each print.

Prints sold within Australia are $100 each (AUD).
Prints sold overseas are $110 each (AUD).

Fitzgerald Photo Imaging are kindly sponsoring part of the printing cost and $10 from each sale will go towards postage and packaging ($20 for international orders).

That means $90 from each print sold goes directly to Free The Bears AND you will receive a stunning print in exchange. Once 100 prints are sold, the release ends and no further prints will be available.

Please share this message far and wide so we can reach our fundraising target of $9000 and help contribute to the forever care of sun and moon bears.

To place your print order please email info@houndstoothstudio.com.au your email address.

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17.06.16

LOOK AT THAT SMILE!

Accompanied by Deb, I’m currently leading a fundraising animal / photography tour with World Expeditions visiting Free the Bears Fund rescue sanctuaries in Vietnam and Cambodia. With us are 7 animal loving people who have big hearts – Angela, Dave, Di, Mary, Robert, Carmen, and Liesa.

Yesterday, this sweet 4 month old sun bear cub was known by her rescue number, “193”. She is the smallest bear in the Cambodian sanctuary, weighing in at 4.5 kilos. Today she was given her official name of “Arya Stark” by Angela who made a wonderful $3000 donation to Free the Bears Fund. This gave Angela the naming rights to bear 193 (or I should say, Arya Stark), plus sponsorship of her for the next 12 months. Being a Game of Thrones fan, Angela’s choice of name was the perfect fit for this little girl who will no doubt grow up to be strong and feisty.

A short time later Dave and Di fell in love with a 7 month old female moon bear, who was formerly known as “189”. They generously donated $3000 for her naming rights and sponsorship and 189 is now known as “Essee”, after Dave and Di’s beloved dog Essee who celebrated her tenth birthday back home in Australia a few days ago. Essee bear is black, furry and cute, so is the perfect namesake for Essee dog. Happy 10th birthday to Essee too.

The $6000 donated by Ange, Dave and Di will be wisely used by FTB and I would sincerely like to thank them so much for making such a substantial financial contribution to the on going care of these vulnerable and adorable cubs.

Long term FTB supporters, Mary and Robert have previously sponsored and named two bears, Jesus and Willow, and are on their 4th overseas sanctuary tour for FTB, after previously visiting bears in Cambodia, Laos and India. Mary is a FTB life member and is heavily involved in the Albany chapter of FTB.

Whilst in Vietnam, Dave and Di spent over $500 purchasing much needed protective clothing and equipment for the Vietnam FTB Sanctuary staff, along cleaning items and hammock making material. The latter was was made into a sturdy, comfortable hammock by our tour team, for a moon bear called Go, who was delighted with his new bed and proceeded to roll around it it with glee. Several members also chipped in to buy the bears dozens of coconuts and watermelons.

Carmen arranged for an article about the work of FTB to go out in the New Town and Kalamunda Toyota newsletter which is disseminated weekly to over 300 staff. Complete with some of her stunning images of the bears in Vietnam, it was an educational and informative piece.

Angela and Dave project managed the building of a climbing platform for the sun bears in Vietnam, complete with two ladders and an engineered design. The whole group also helped out with daily bear enclosure cleaning, enrichment management and food preparation, and Liesa has been conducting preliminary research for her pending PhD into the illegal wildlife trade.

We all still all found time to take a few gazillion photos in there too! There are some amazing shots coming out of the tour and the photo of the day competition is hotly contended.

Before we left home, FTB board member and Houndstooth’s very own Debora Brown coordinated the collection and delivery of 24 Aussie Dog Products treat balls, which were then carried over by Angela, Di, David, Robert and Mary in their luggage. The bears were overjoyed to receive the balls, playing with them endlessly and trying to dig out the treats inside. Watching them made our eyes leak.

On top of that, our tour group as a whole has donated $3500 to FTB. I think these wonderful people deserve a huge, grateful pat on the back for everything they have contributed on this trip to help rescued bears. They’ve given their time, money, blood, sweat and tears … well thankfully not their blood but I’m sure they would if they thought it could help bears in some small way. We are blessed to have spent time with them all on this adventure, and the bears are lucky to have them on their team.

PICTURED: Cub Arya Stark.

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17.06.16

PURE JOY!

Pictured is one of the moments that brought tears to our eyes. A ten year old female moon bear who was rescued from a bear bile farm, plays with a treat ball for the first time. She lives in a sanctuary in the Nam Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, which was recently taken over by Free the Bears Fund.

This gorgeous bear took her treat ball into the pool and splashed around with it for over half an hour. To see her absolute joy and excitement was food for the soul. We were mesmerized by her enthusiasm, as we remembered where she came from and how far removed from those beginnings she was now. She once lived in a tiny metal cage the size of her body, unable to stand or even move. Now she has a pool and an enrichment toy, two meals a day, a big safe enclosure to roam in, and a team of people who will care for her for the rest of her life.

FTB have greatly improved the sanctuary since moving in, but the even better news is that building will soon commence on a new centre for bears just up the road from the existing one. The facility will be designed with every bear requirement in mind and will blend with the jungle environment.

The treat balls are made from tough plastic by Aussie Dog Products who generously subsidized them for FTB. Huge shout out to this awesome Aussie company helping the bears of South East Asia. Five of the fabulous people on our tour then carried 24 balls over from Australia to Vietnam in their luggage. There are now enough balls to be rotated through for the 35 bears in the centre.

When the bears first saw the balls they didn’t know what to do with them. Then they realised there was fruit and peanut butter crammed inside and they quickly got the hang of rolling the ball and tipping it upside down to get to the the tasty morsels. The balls keep the bears minds and bodies active, encouraging them to use their tongues and claws to reach their food rewards. Each ball can last for several years.

For just $60 you can donate a treat ball to a rescued bear. These simple but effective tools greatly reduce the bears boredom and provides them with recurring joy. It really is the gift that keeps on giving and I can personally vouch for how much the bears love (and need) them.

Click here to donate http://www.freethebears.org/…/ftb-pr…/product/101-treat-ball

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17.06.16

ABROAD IN SOUTH VIETNAM!

For the past week we’ve been in Vietnam leading a World Expeditions tour group of fabulous animal loving people. Most of our time was spent photographing and working at the Free the Bears Fund Sanctuary in the Nam Cat Tien National Park (more on that soon).

It was a wonderful surprise when we returned from lunch one day to see a wild female yellow cheeked gibbon and her young son swinging through the trees above sanctuary. They then returned each day and were gentle and curious, often sitting within metres of us, watching down intently from the jungle canopy. What a privilege it was to observe them. A real life highlight!

Yellow cheeked gibbons are only found in South Vietnam and Cambodia. The wild population is estimated to be less than 25,000 as a result of forest destruction and hunting. An organization called the Endangered Asian Species Trust (EAST) operates a purpose built primate rescue centre located on a 56 hectare island on the edge of the Nam Cat Tien National Park, and a short boat ride from the bear sanctuary. There they rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce endangered primates, improve conservation education and community engagement, and encourage responsible tourism.

On our first day in the park we visited the EAST centre to see the rescued gibbons. It was heartwarming to meet dedicated people doing all they can to help these sweet creatures. We only have the privilege of seeing animals like this in the wild thanks to organizations like EAST.

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09.06.16

How to Take Professional Quality Pet Photos at Home

Taking photos of your pet can be a fun way for the two of you to spend time together. With a little practice, you’ll have some great shots to share with your friends and family.

Each pet has its own unique personality, and you want that to come through in your images. If your pup is rambunctious, don’t try to force him into sitting up all prim and proper. Instead, capture him rolling around on the floor with his favourite toy or chasing his tail in your backyard. Your images will be more engaging and will show your fur baby in his natural state. Action shots can sometimes be a bit tricky, so use a fast shutter speed to reduce blur or use the burst shot mode on your smartphone to give you several images to choose from.

Houndstooth Studio was delighted to be recently included in Bupa Pet Insurance’s feature, ‘Top Pet Photographers Share Their Secrets’. As we mention in the article, you need to create ‘an environment where your dog can relax and feel safe. Their happiness shines through in their facial expressions and body language when they’re at ease.’

Nobody knows their quirks and mannerisms as well as you do, so watch for patterns in their behaviour so that you can have your camera handy when the time is right. If your kitty always lounges on top of your kitchen cabinets in the early evening, have your camera ready. Likewise, if you’re favourite moments are when your dog covers his nose with his paws after he sneezes, these are the moments to snap away. The key is to be patient. Don’t try to force your pet to do anything, as this will only result in frustration for both of you.

We also recommend  you try to resist the urge to randomly photograph your pet every time they look cute (we know this is a big ask!). The best approach is to develop a story or a message through your photos. For example, a kitten with her head stuck in a Christmas stocking makes for a fun Christmas card idea. Plan out the shots you’d like to take and the props you plan to use before you start shooting, but keep in mind  your pet is still an animal and may not want to cooperate with your fabulous vision. If your pup refuses to wear that adorable Akubra you picked out for him, take a break and try again later when they’re in a more cooperative mood.

With these simple tips, you should be on your way to taking great pet photos at home in no time. Be sure to reward your four-legged companion for cooperating during the shoot with a good belly scratch.

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09.06.16

Polly

Polly’s before and after pics are hard to believe. She has now mastered the wave and is such a gorgeous girl. As someone posted earlier on the image with her Mum and siblings, the first photo breaks your heart … the second photo heals it.

Polly is currently in the care of the RSPCA WA and will soon be available for adoption.

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09.06.16

TRANSFORMED!

Wow, look at them now. Penelope and her pups are almost unrecognisable with their full coats. A few months ago pregnant Penelope was taken to a local pound then moved to the RSPCA WA  There she had an emergency caesarean and gave birth to her three pups. All four dogs had demodex mange and other health issues, which have slowly healed thanks to medical treatment and lots of tender care.

It’s incredible to see them so healthy and back from the brink. They’ll soonbe up for adoption – except for Pen who has already found a family to call her own. Well done Penelope … your new Mum and Dad are wonderful people and they love you very much!

Speaking of love, if you are seeking a new furry friend head down to the RSPCA shelter this weekend (incl Monday) for their “Lasting Love” adoption event. It gives you with the opportunity to adopt a long term dog, cat or rabbit at half of their normal adoption fee. Check out their sweet faces at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/…

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