Animals

By Hannah Phillips

 

A kennel worker has spent three days posing up SIX patient pooches to create this hilarious nativity scene to spread Christmas cheer.

Emma Ashenhurst, 30, spent almost three months planning the Christmas scene before dressing up two of her own pups and four friends’ pets in towels and and strewing straw across her living room.

The 30-year-old dog lover, from Belfast, then spent three days persuading the six well-behaved mutts – a Pomeranian, two Jack Russells, a Labrador, a Lurcher and a German Pointer – to pose while she tried to get the perfect snap.

Pomeranian Little, 12,  peeked over the top of the scene as Angel Gabriel while Jack Russell cross, Bert, five, was a wise man, German Pointer Amber, Labrador Raven and Lurcher Blue were all shepherds and Jack Russell, Phoebe, two, stole the show as baby Jesus in a Moses basket.

The pets were encouraged to sit still, look at the camera and jump up when necessary with the help of heaps of biscuits and post-it notes covered in peanut butter.

Emma, who runs Whinney Hill Kennels in Dundonald, said: “It took a long time to get the shot.

“Once I have an idea, I try out different things and see which dogs are going to play ball.

“I was taking the pictures back and forth for three days, I didn’t know how it was going to turn out.

“I just let them do their thing and hoped we’d get something by chance.

“I just had to try and make them sit still for 30 seconds but that’s easier said than done.

“My house is pretty much destroyed now; I’m still finding straw.”

Emma has been creating dog themed nativity cards for the past seven years, sending them out to customers and locals in her area.

Previous themes include The Grinch and Love Actually and Emma said clients now look forward to the annual scenes throughout the year.

For the split-second perfectly-timed shots where the dogs look down from the top of the frame, she persuades the pooches to jump up using post-it notes covered in peanut butter stuck on her wall before adding backdrops using an app.

She said: “We start in September and usually get it together in time for Christmas. People end up looking forward to it throughout the year.

“My dogs, Bert and Little, are used to it now, because I use them every year. Lots of biscuits and cuddles are needed.”