The dogs dressed for the occasion, complete with miniature crowns, blankets, and towels (just like when you used to put on the nativity play at school).
Rather than chasing down a star and heading to a barn, the friends set up their nativity in Lois’ living room, which they transformed to look like a stable with blankets, a shining star hanging on the back wall, and a ‘borrowed’ bale of straw.
They even held up a donkey toy with some perspective trickery to make it look like the animal was just peeking his head into the shot.Lois and Claire think the photo will remind people of ‘the real essence of Christmas’ – Jesus’s birth.
Lois, who owns Lois’ Shear Pawfection dog groomers, said: ‘It was all very good fun. We had such a laugh.
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‘People think it is amazing and have said how lovely and special it is. Loads of people don’t understand how we got them to sit still and look at the camera.
‘I didn’t have a ball or treat or anything like that, it was just me being an idiot shouting “look this way doggies”. It was really funny.
‘Being able to share it with people and spread a bit of festive cheer would make my year – that would be my Christmas.’
The duo even included the fourth wise man who, according to the New Testament, tried to attend Jesus’ birth with gifts of sapphire, ruby and pearl but arrived too late. Massage therapist Claire, of Maldon, Essex, said: ‘I’m really happy with how the photos turned out. It worked really well. ‘We wanted to capture the real essence of Christmas – the Christmas story of Jesus being born.
‘It’s not all about having loads of presents and competing with the next person on how much you’ve spent. It’s all gone a bit crazy.’
After deciding to do their fun take on the Nativity, Lois and Claire spent the next six days sorting costumes and props.
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Lois bought dog Santa and elf costumes from the pound shop for the wise men and made their crowns out of coloured card while Claire borrowed a bale of straw from her local farm shop.The leading role of baby Jesus was played by Lois’ seven-year-old toy poodle Meesha who sat on a white blanket on a white wicker basket atop the bale of straw. Lois’s grey 13-year-old miniature poodle Rizzo was wrapped in a blue blanket to represent Mary and Claire’s springer spaniel Harley, five, wore a beige towel to take on the role of Joseph.
The role of Gabriel was given to Lois’s grey mini poodle Frenchy, 10, while her brother Doody, also 10, was the fourth wise man. What an honour. The standard three wise men were represented by Claire’s cockapoo Poppy, seven, black miniature poodle Faith, eight months, and white toy poodle Missy, 10.
Lois said: ‘Claire turned up and said ‘I’ve got this’ and pulled out the donkey and I just wet myself laughing.
‘It was advertised as 30cm tall but it wasn’t. We think they must have meant 30mm. So we decided to have him photobomb a few of the photos as if it was a selfie.
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‘When we were done, all the dogs got fussed over for being so good and we pulled some of the straw out so they could run around in it.
‘The straw ended up everywhere, which was quite funny.’
The friends say they’re planning another photoshoot with their dogs soon, but the theme remains a surprise. Keep your eyes peeled.