Isle of Man dogs set to take part in return of special nativity play

Weasel the dog playing baby Jesus in a manger

The role of baby Jesus will be played by a cross-breed called Weasel

Border collies and cockapoos are preparing to take part in a special canine version of the nativity.

Organised by Busy Bee Dog Training, a cast of pooches will perform the traditional roles in the “Dogtivity” at Jurby Parish Hall on Saturday.

Pets dressed as sheep, angels and wise men will tread the boards on Saturday.

Trainer Debbie Martin said the first show in 2019 had opened the Christmas story up to “a different audience” and proved a “massive hit”.

The event takes place at Jurby Parish Hall at 14:30 BST.

After a four-year break initially prompted by the pandemic, the time was now right to bring it back, she said.

One of the 'three wise dogs' in the Dogtivity

Cocker spaniel Dakota is one of the three wise dogs in the Dogtivity

A trio of cockapoos will take on the roles of Mary, Joseph and the inn keeper, while baby Jesus will be played by a cross-breed dog called Weasel.

The “three wise dogs” – a Border collie, cocker spaniel and golden retriever – will perform in elaborate coats and crowns, and the angels will sport wings and halos.

The show will also feature carols along with narration by pastor of Ramsey Baptist Church Louise Strickett, who has collaborated with Ms Martin on the project.

A dog dressed as the inn keeper in the Dogtivity

Cockapoo Alfie will take on the role of the inn keeper

A collie called Hector, who plays the Angel Gabriel, had come to rehearsals in his costume, which demonstrated that dog training can be fun, Ms Martin said.

She said the nativity also allowed pets who were “part of our families” to take part in the festivities.

Two dogs dressed as sheep in the dogtivity

Cairn terriers dressed in fleecy costumes are set to perform as sheep

As the owner of one of the wise dogs, Ms Martin said she would be “flapping” her hands around in background “hoping everyone is in the right place at the right time”.

“They all know the script, but as is the case when working with kids and animals – expect the unexpected,” she added.

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