My name is Syv Ritch. Syv is pronounced like sieve, but instead of a long “ie”, it’s a short one.
I’m located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It’s on Canada’s west coast, it’s a beautiful place nested between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains. The Cascades to the east and the North Shore mountains.
I do not try and pose your pets with props or costumes, rather I want to capture them as they are playing with a favourite toy running around the yard or at the park or just sleeping peacefully. I believe this creates authentic images that you will treasure forever.
I’m a full time professional pet photographer. My pet photography business is a full time job not just a weekend hobby. I immerse myself in the pet photography world on a daily basis and I’m always discovering new tricks and techniques to get the most out of photographing your pet. When you book a session you are guaranteed to receive amazing service from start to finish from a truly experienced and dedicated professional. I understand dogs, through owning and training my own dogs and constant exposure to our canine friends on a daily basis through my work. I have gained a really solid understanding of doggy behaviours by reading their body language and connecting with them on a level and in a language they understand. I give back. I spent 2 years on the Vancouver Downtown Eastside making photos of people’s cats dogs and even some rats (sorry but I hate rats, it’s a basic fear) and gave the people prints free no charge.
I photograph dogs, not weddings not family picnics, not high school seniors, although I’m happy to photographs your kids with Rusty. I’m about dogs. I photograph dogs. I know dogs. It’s all about dogs (almost I also photograph cats and I have even done some rats). I bring the best out of your dog.
Not every photographer can photograph dogs. It takes insight and handling ability years of understanding dogs to bring out your dog’s character to enable her/him to relax with the cameras and respond to a new person and situation. It takes experience and knowing your subject with patience and dog savvy. I have worked with fear biters and shy dogs alike without problem.
I started in photography in the late 1960s. My first camera was a Kodak 126 Instamatic. I took black and white photos of cars and photos of my friends, then I sold my friends photographs to their mothers. This was my first foray in the business of being a professional photographer.
My job is to capture the magic of people’s relationship with their cats or their dogs.
My first beast was a curmudgeon cat. Even as a kitten, he wasn’t really friendly and he became worse as he grew older. Somehow he trusted me. I was the only person that he would put up with. I could hold him in my arms on his back and he would stay there, 100% relaxed. I was the one that had to “torture” him with the pills, the injections and the restraining at the vet. He always got paid handsomely with smoked salmon pieces but I finally settled on giving him extremely thin sliced roast beef. He would put up with anything for his roast beef. Pouch, my cat, was an indoor cat dreaming of being an outdoor cat. Once, he made it. It was in January and there was a foot of snow. He timed it right and bolted past the door in the snow. He did, maybe 20 steps in the snow, then he realized that the snow was up to his belly. He stopped, looked at me and started to meow asking for the rescue mission. I was laughing my head off as I walked to rescue him. He was like Wile E. Coyote when he kept on running over the cliff and then realized that he was about to fall down the canyon.
A few years later, I had my first dog: Totos.
Totos was half German Shepherd, half Whippet (a small version of the Greyhound), half Pointer and who knows what else. When he was 3 to 4 weeks old, they seized the whole litter. As a puppy, he was beaten up with sticks by kids. Everybody thought that he was a German Shepherd puppy. He only had two goals:
- Pleasing me
- Getting his treats
In this photo, he was guarding the stairs because I owed him a treat but I first had to take the photo before going up the stairs to give him his treat. His favourite activities were in descending order:
- Getting his toenails clipped
- Getting his teeth brushed
He always got a pig’s ear or a chewy stick for his toenails and at least some extra biscuit for getting his teeth brushed.
Ethelbert is a big dog. He is a Maremma adopted from an unnamed shelter but I would not be surprised if he also had some terrier in him (the bottom jaw is not the regular jaw for a Maremma). The Maremma is the Italian version of the Great Pyrenees. The Italian shepherds used to leave them with the sheeps and then go home. He is a very cool cuke. He is a large dog and very little fazes him. I traded him for Dodoïte, see Dodoïte for the explanation of the trade.
I traded my dog, Ethelbert, for Dodoïte. What’s that? How could I trade my dog?
In 2012, we adopted Ethelbert. He had to go for a month to a friend of ours who has a ranch in the mountains. She had 8 to 10 dogs and some horses on her ranch. One of the horses was extremely old, 36 years old, blind and toothless. The other horses did not like him, they kicked and bit him on occasion.
Ethelbert decided to spent time and sleep with him in the stable. He decided to protect him and sometimes he would terrorize the other horses. Our friend’s ranch is about a kilometer wide by two kilometers long in the mountains with a small river running through. Ethelbert runs around, most of the day, in the fields. At least once a month, he manages to escape for a few days in the mountains and then he comes back. Obviously he’s not lost. Ethelbert spent the winter in the Rockies and had a great time.
I went to pick him up in the spring, he heard my voice and he came immediately to give me a good sniff and to eat my treats. Almost all dogs know me as the treat man and then he ran away in the fields. I can do a lot for dogs but I don’t even have a backyard and our friend wanted to keep him, so I agreed.
A few weeks later, our friend called us that somebody abandoned a very nice, gentle dog. Did I want him? Sight unseen, I said yes (I trust her judgment). His history is very sketchy but I think that he was around three or four years old, after taking him to the groomer and losing between 10 to 15 pounds of fur. He is a furry Basset Hound crossed with some Australian Shepherd and some Corgi. He’s never been to the city. He’s scared of trucks, buses and of the noise from airplanes or helicopters. He’s afraid that the sky will fall. So now when people ask me what kind of dog he is, I say that Dodoïte is a big chicken in a doggy suit.