Kennel worker gets dogs to pose for nativity scene Christmas card

Bert the dog recreates Love Actually for Christmas card
Emma previously made a Love Actually inspired card with her dogs (Picture: WHINNEY HILL KENNELS / MERCURY PRESS)
Emma Ashenhurst, 30, spent three days getting six dogs to pose for a gorgeous nativity scene to spread Christmas cheer. And the hard work went beyond that – the kennel worker from Belfast spent almost three months planning the Christmas scene before dressing up two of her own dogs and four friends’ pets in towels and chucking straw on the floor of her living room.

The end result is worth it, we reckon.

Pomeranian Little, 12, peeks over the top of the scene as the Angel Gabriel, while Jack Russell cross Bert, five, acted as a wise man and German Pointer Amber, Labrador Raven, and Lurcher Blue took on the role of shepherds.
Jack Russell Phoebe, two, was the star of the show as the baby Jesus in a basket.
Emma Ashenhursts dog Christmas nativity - Jack Russel cross (wise man) is Bert, Jack Russel (Jesus) is Phoebe, Black Labrador is Raven, German Pointer (blue towel) is Amber, Lurcher (in the pink towel) is Blue, Pomeranian (top, angel Gabriel) is Little)
Emma used post-it notes covered in peanut butter and a massive pile of dog biscuits to get her actors to stay focused (Picture: WHINNEY HILL KENNELS / MERCURY PRESS)

Getting dogs to look at the camera is pretty tricky, so Emma had to gather up 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.

Instead of buying special Kong stuffing, stuff a Kong with cheese cubes and place in the microwave for five seconds.

‘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.

some of Emmas dogs creating a very Christmassy scene
Emma has been creating Christmas cards with her dogs for the last seven years (Picture: WHINNEY HILL KENNELS / MERCURY PRESS)

‘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.’

The Fix

The daily lifestyle email from

A shower caddy makes a great storage solution for all your doggie stuff.

Find out more