Archive for March, 2015



As always, we totally fell in love with EVERY dog we saw in and around Luang Prabag. Here are a few of the fuzzy butts we met – most pics feature bear sanctuary pooches Solli, Kip and Bindi as well as the incredible Susi Schuhs who lives at the Free The Bears office. She was awesome to photograph and goes everywhere in town with the Free The Bears team (even into restaurants). Plus she can ride on the back (or front) of a motorbike and a push bike! And will happily jump on with people she knows if she sees them around town. So clever! All of these dogs have homes and human families.;UICu6~;v9jTU9N8DphEAOhg2EqqSLuEz9JhhFdI6flROMWojzTfosr07UyTs5wWd6TmPVX~_eaBby581gsuYjk8.bps.a.10153092453451208.1073742598.177830156207/10153092454256208/?type=1&theater

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ChamPa the Asiatic Black Bear

When ChamPa the Asiatic Black Bear (also known as a moon bear) came into the care of Free the Bears Fund‘s Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre (Laos) in 2010 as a cub, it was immediately apparent something was wrong. Her head was protruding and disproportionate to her tiny body and she didn’t socialise well with the other young bears. It was suspected she was suffering from Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which caused her constant migraine type pain and failing eyesight. She rarely lifted her heavy head and it was obvious to the FTB staff that medical intervention was needed – not only to improve her quality of life, but perhaps also to save her.

In 2013, a surgical team from the UK flew to Laos and ChamPa became the first bear in the world to undergo brain surgery. Her operation lasted for 6 hours and once Hydrocephalus was confirmed via an utrasound probe, a small tube was placed under her skin, draining fluid from her brain into her abdomen where it can easily be absorbed. Today she’s a different bear. Her vision has improved, she is pain free, and she is more active and social. A wonderful result thanks to a dedicated group of people.

Yesterday I had one of the most magical experiences of my life when I got to spend 3 hours with ChamPa, feeding her breakfast and taking portrait photographs – in this pic there’s more feeding breakfast going on than photo taking, haha. Sometimes the bright sunlight is too much for her sensitive eyes and she retreats back into her den, but yesterday she loved the attention of having someone pick out which fruit she should eat and place it in her paws, so she happily sat out on the wooden decking with me. If I made the wrong choice of offering (like pumpkin) she’d push it aside for a more favourable option of watermelon or banana. She was gentle, graceful and beautiful and she allowed me to be just inches away from her and give her a few welcome pats.

Several times she lifted her head and looked directly into my eyes. I cant even describe those moments in words. It was overwhelming to connect with such a magnificent, endangered animal in such a way, especially one who has already been through so much in her short life, and who wouldn’t be here at all if not for the love and care of FTB.

We had so much fun hanging out and I can’t wait to visit her again tomorrow. When we leave Laos on the weekend, I know a little piece of my heart will stay behind … forever with ChamPa.


Photo by Debora Brown / Houndstooth Studio



Tamron Australia Super Performance Series family

Just got my hot little hands on the brand spanking new member of the Tamron Australia Super Performance Series family, the 15-30mm f/2.8 VC lens. This revolutionary lens is the world’s first f/2.8, ultra wide angle zoom lens with Vibration Compensation for image stabilisation. This means I’ll be well equipped to capture hand-held photos in dark situations. It’s perfect for natural light photography in dimly lit jungle areas – like Laos where I’m headed this week for Free the Bears Fund.

Have a read of it’s vital stats on the attached flyer and see if it could be the next addition to your camera kit!
‪#‎TamronForProfessionals‬ ‪#‎GameChanger‬ ‪#‎ITrustTamron‬‪#‎GetYouHandsOnOne‬



14 year old Chihuahua, Chloe and 5 year old Mastiff Shepherd x, Maisey

Robyn says “I was lucky enough to take in Chloe and her mum, Gemma many years ago when Chloe was only 18 months old.  Gemma has since passed away but Chloe is still going strong.   Chloe had been handed in to my local vet as her previous owner could not keep her due to a change in circumstance. My vet introduced me and love at first sight.

Chloe is friendly, loves people and thinks she’s a giant. With other animals she thinks she’s the boss – and she makes sure Maisey and our two cats at home know about it.

Maisey was also a rescue. The moment I saw her picture on the internet I knew she was meant for me. Maisey is my companion, my friend and like one of my children. Together both dogs have come to WA with me from country NSW and they will be returning with me later in the year.

I was having the floor tiled and the tiler had left for the day, leaving the apprentice, a lovely young man from Afghanistan, in charge. I had taken Chloe to the loo out the front. In her “doggy doing a poo” position, the young man came out and asked me, “Excuse me, what kind of animal is that?” I think he thought she was a tiny bilby or something!”;jXEvJMx3ZC~;BzqhBzI2iL17Ror5Ch21ylUv4K~;mVd7rQ9lJ7Rxovn9GRBxubJxo~-.bps.a.10153069121751208.1073742593.177830156207/10153069121971208/?type=1&theater



Alex Cearns – Beginners Outdoor Photography Workshop in Perth on Friday 3rd July 2015

JUST 3 PLACES LEFT! WANT TO MASTER YOUR CAMERA AND LEARN HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH ANIMALS? We can help! Due to popular demand we are now taking bookings for our Beginners Outdoor Photography Workshop in Perth on Friday 3rd July 2015. Don’t miss out!

WHAT: Photography CAN be easy and SHOULD be fun. Enjoy a relaxed, practical, full day of learning and photographic discovery with Alex Cearns, Houndstooth Studio’s multi-award winning animal and wildlife photographer. Learn Alex’s steps to stunning outdoor animal photography in the beautiful Woodlands Reserve Room at Whiteman Park, then get into prime photo locations with the incredible wildlife at Caversham Wildlife Park.

This is an exclusive opportunity to discover how to get the best out of your animal subjects. Our workshop is aimed at beginner to intermediate level photographers and consists of a combination of theory and practical instruction delivered by one of Australia’s most respected animal photographers.

We invite you to come along and learn how to get the best from your DSLR camera. It’s a fun day with like minded people, hosted in a beautiful environment perfect for learning.

Plus Tamron Australia will provide a selection of lenses for participants to use on the day, including THE BEAST, their 150-600mm super zoom.

The Animal Photography Masterclass is strictly limited to a maximum of 18 people, with bookings in advance essential to secure your spot.

WHO: Do you have a DSLR camera but struggle to use it? Want to improve your animal photography? Keen to learn how easy and jargon free photography can be? Alex can help you! We personally guarantee you will see an improvement in your photography on this workshop.

WHERE & WHEN: Whiteman park and Caversham Wildlife Park on Friday 3rd July 2015 from 8:30am until 5pm.

COST & INCLUSIONS: Cost is $495 per person and includes expert tuition, flash cards, meals, drinks, entry to Caversham Wildlife Park, Tamron Showbag.

TO BOOK OR FOR MORE INFO – Please email Colleen from our office on or call 0413 174 069.
Here’s what participants had to say:

“This was a great refresher course for me. Alex’s energy is infectious and she is a wonderful presenter. I loved her explanations about how to get the shot and the examples were excellent. Great day! Thank you.” Fran

“This is a fantastic course that I would recommend to anyone needing inspiration and confidence with their photography. Alex is a great teacher – down to earth and easy to understand. I have attended several photography courses in the past and left feeling confused about the technical details. I’ve already put into practice the things I’ve learnt, with great results! Thanks so much.”

“It was great! I loved the anecdotes and examples. Was so relieved it wasn’t full of hard to understand technical stuff. Am recommending it to all my friends who have a DSLR.” Beth

“I had some real Aha! moments today. The practical session was excellent and the afternoon session was awesome! Thank you!” Anne

“Somehow Alex is able to explain and demonstrate how to use and control your camera much better than any other course I have attended before! Thank you so much for a fabulous day. I have learnt so much that I know I will be able to remember.” Liz

“What a joy! This course exceeded all my expectations!! I finally understand Apeture! Finally! Thank you so much.” Mel

“A fantastic day. Thank you. It’s hard to single out a favourite part of the course, it was all fantastic! I think the shift in my understanding about the technical side of things was a huge help for me. Also loved the food, the jokes and above all the tips! I can’t wait to get out there to put everything into practice.” Steph



12 year old Staffy, Cassie

Amy says “I’d always wanted a pet of my own when I was a child but my parents would only ever let me have fish.

When I first moved into my own home with my husband, it took us two months before we met Cassie as a puppy and we fell in love immediately! She stole our hearts forever and has been our little girl since that day.

Cassie is our only child and I will admit she’s a real spoilt brat. But in true only child form she is our beautiful girl who we initially said would sleep on HER bed and stay outside during the day. This lasted about 1 week and now she sleeps on our bed, under the covers with her head popping out the other end.

Every morning she comes up to us both for morning cuddles. She flops on you and nuzzles her head into your arms which is then followed by little kisses.

We love her so much and her love is unconditional. She has watched us go through all our tough times and is always there at the end of it to give us a cuddle and lick away our tears.”



14 week old Hungarian Viszla puppy, Herbert

Claire says “My partner Luke and I have always wanted a dog and we finally settled on a Hungarian Vizsla. I’d been searching for some months for a suitable breeder, when I came across Acweis in South Australia.

Herbert was born on the 5th December and he travelled via plane (after a much anticipated wait) on the 30th January 2015. We collected him out of the travel cage and instantly fell in love; he was super energetic and excited the entire trip home. I think we had 10 plus visitors that night to meet Herbert.

Herbert very much loves the water. When he was 10 weeks old we took him to my aunties house for a social visit. She has a weimaraner who loves to swim in the pool.

We were out by the pool, when the weimaraner jumped in to chase a ball. Herbie being very bold and brave, leapt in straight after her, not realising how deep it was! With some help, he made it back to the steps. It was extremely funny as well as entertaining for everyone watching me jump in after him.

He still loves the water even after a baptism of fire. One of our favourite traits of Herbie is his voice; he is a very talkative and cheeky fellow.”

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2 year old German Shepherd, Lily and 11 month old German Shepherd, Ruby

Hope and Katie tell their story “Hope got Lily after trying to secure a puppy for about a month but always calling breeders and checking the refuges to find out they’d just sold the last one.  An advert came up for White German Shepherds and although she’d never heard of this breed before, she loved GS’s and decided to give it a go.

Katie and Hope both went to pick a puppy from the litter but when we got there every dog was an identical ball of white fur. Wanting a girl they picked dogs up to check their gender only to put them back into a swirl of unrecognisable fluff. Eventually one pup bit Hope on the toe and also happened to be a female, so they went with  that one.

The next day was Hope’s boyfriend’s birthday so she essentially got herself a puppy for his birthday – nearly two years later he is still glad she did.

Katie had always planned to get a female long haired shepherd after having fond memories of the pet she had as a child. Often she would ‘window’ shop online to see what breeders had available, but never put her name down because she wasn’t quite ready for a dog.   One day she heard someone had backed out of purchasing a female long haired shepherd because they didn’t want a long hair and this puppy was now available. Not being able to miss out on such an auspicious opportunity, she made the call and secured her dream dog.

Lily and Ruby have been best friends for a while now, although it wasn’t always that way. Lily being the first dog received a lot of attention from both Hope and Katie, so when Katie got Ruby she was not always too happy about this. Nowdays they generally play very well together and get along, but Lily is still quick to remind Ruby of who’s in charge and to try to get more attention from Katie.

This was best represented a few months ago when Katie was trying to get the dogs to play tug in the backyard and accidentally stood on Lily’s foot. Lily thinking that Katie would never do such a thing found it a prime opportunity to tell Ruby off in front of Katie for something she didn’t do.”



5 month old Doberman pups, Zola and Tully Bear

Dawn says “We have two puppy additions to our family called Zola and Tully Bear – they are both lovely and are full of fun and mischief. They came from a Doby breeder in the Perth hills and we couldn’t resist them when we saw them!

They were so tiny when we first met. We wanted to keep a brother and sis together so we took them both home with us at 8 weeks old.

They already love playing in the ocean – just like us. They try very hard to squeeze on the sofa with us and when we are out we know they sneak up there.

At the moment it’s sleepless nights, thunder wake up calls, pee and poo (sh*t loads of it, haha) and double the trouble but double the love!”



The Ex-Factor

FOR THE DOG LOVERS! A recommended read, written by our clever friend Laura Greaves. The heroine of “The Ex-Factor” is a professional dog trainer for films and TV shows, and has four rescue dogs of her own, including a retired Greyhound and a Pitbull. Needless to say, she is very pro-rescue Greyhounds and very anti-BSL! There are nine dogs in the book all up and it’s a fab read.
Getchya copy at