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The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: Portraits by pets-only studio in Edmonton

Chewed Slippers was started by two photographers who closed their individual businesses and went after a niche

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A portrait by Chewed Slippers, a photo studio for pets in Edmonton. The founders of the company say they are off to a good start, but think they can grow more quickly.

Chewed Slippers

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The co-owners, Amanda Adkins, left, and Lorena Smalley, closed their individual photo studios and opened their pets-only studio, Chewed Slippers, last year. The pair first met in the late 1990s studying photography at Edmonton’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

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Another portrait by Chewed Slippers. The co-owners book about 30 clients a month. To build their business, Ms. Adkins says, they first need to convince skeptics that their service is no joke, and worth paying good money for.

Chewed Slippers

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Pets today, especially dogs, have become de facto children. Not only are scientists finding that dog-owner relationships bear striking similarities to those of child and parent, but people are spending more money than ever on their “fur babies.”

Chewed Slippers

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The Chewed Slippers co-founders also give back to the community. Less than a year after they began taking clients, they launched two projects: Miss You Already, a free service for clients with terminally ill pets, and the Christmas Paws for a Cause fundraiser, which supports a local initiative to feed the pets of homeless people.

Chewed Slippers

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Ms. Adkins and Ms. Smalley also shoot outside the studio.

Chewed Slippers

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The numbers look good for Chewed Slippers. The American Pet Products Association estimates that our southern neighbours spent more than $55-billion (U.S.) on pet expenditures in 2013, more than double the amount spent in 1994 after inflation. Nearly $5-billion of that is spent on various non-food and non-medical services.

Chewed Slippers

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Another portrait by Chewed Slippers.

Chewed Slippers

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More from Chewed Slippers.

Chewed Slippers

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Another portrait.

Chewed Slippers

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Another portrait by Chewed Slippers.

Chewed Slippers

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Ms. Adkins and Ms. Smalley still struggle with breaking through the skepticism of potential clients. Ms. Smalley says, “If I only had a dollar for every time somebody said to me, ‘Really? Can you make a living at that?’”

Chewed Slippers

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