From the shepherd’s flock to the donkey which carried Mary, animals have always been central to the Christmas story.
But a leading South Shields pet care company has gone one further, casting dogs to retell the story of Jesus’ birth, with an aim of bringing some cheer and helping a good cause.
The ‘Pawtivitiy’ by Pets2Impress, based at Mitre Place in South Shields, saw some 20 canines taking part, playing angels, a donkey, the three wise men and even baby Jesus.
Captured on video, the production is in aid of the Pets2Impress annual Santa for Stray’s appeal, which gathers donations of food, beds and toys to give to a local cat and dog shelter.
The Pawtivity is the brainchild of Tim Jackson, 35, from South Shields, a registered and qualified veterinary nurse who launched Pets2Impress in 2008.
“I thought after the last two years that we’ve all had to put up with it would be nice to do something a little bit different and a little bit ambitious,” he said.
"It took about three months in total to make. It’s only 25 minutes long but it took a lot of work! We do the Santa for Stray’s appeal every year, but we wanted to make it a little different this year and the video has helped us get some amazing donations.
“The owners absolutely loved it.
"Last week we had a little premiere night so they could come watch with some popcorn, mince pies and hot chocolate and we put it up on the big screen.
"The overall reaction has been great too! I’ve had people stopping me in the street saying how much they loved it and I’m glad it spread some happiness.”
Pets2Impress offers 1-1 dog training, dog daycare, pet sitting, dog walking and grooming.
The cast of four-legged characters in the Pawtivity includes Teddy as baby Jesus, Pablo, Freedie and Dixie as the wise men, Missy and Cobie, who play the angels, Blaze, who played the donkey, innkeepers Luna and Winston, Ozzy as the Christmas star, as well as Milo, Alfie and Kisha as farm animals.
The Pets2Impress Pawtivity can be seen online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=alTCWqmV2II and Tim is already planning to make the festive video an annual event, with one idea to tell the story of A Christmas Carol, next year.