This birthday party has gone to the dogs! A Hundred Acre Woods style pawty for the pups



To celebrate Niner's 4th birthday, I wanted to do something extra fun. A few ideas came to mind, including a picnic, a hiking trip, a play date with friends, a special portrait to mark the day. And then I figured, let's do all of them!

I decided on a party, something with the feel of being in the Hundred Acre Woods among best friends, soft golden sunlight, oak trees and green grass. Then I called up my dear friends and extraordinarily talented photographers Natalia Martinez and Bill Parsons of Photo Lab Pet Photography, who also are the parents of Willow and Corbin, two dear doggy friends of Niner's.

When I asked if they would be interested in pulling off this project -- a picnic party plus photo shoot -- they were more than game. The resulting collaboration is something that had all of us laughing during the shoot, and sighing or squealing at the photos that came of it. Both the photos and the joyful experience of the afternoon are something I'll cherish forever.

These are just some of my favorites from the day. Be sure to visit Photo Lab Pet Photography's Tails from the Lab to view Bill and Natalia's favorites as well!

Niner and Willow hung the party sign with care, making sure it was perfectly not-straight.

Niner and Willow hung the party sign with care, making sure it was perfectly not-straight.

Natalia put her amazing drawing skills to work creating this beautiful chalk sign. It turned into one of my favorite props of the entire day.

Natalia put her amazing drawing skills to work creating this beautiful chalk sign. It turned into one of my favorite props of the entire day.

I baked up dog-friendly pupcakes, and layered liver-paste frosting on top. The dogs were great about waiting until the 'okay' from us before diving in.

I baked up dog-friendly pupcakes, and layered liver-paste frosting on top. The dogs were great about waiting until the 'okay' from us before diving in.

After the table was set up, the three dogs were let loose to go check it out! They were more than ready to get the party started.

After the table was set up, the three dogs were let loose to go check it out! They were more than ready to get the party started.

Corbin likes to sport a jaunty look and set his party hat at a rackish angle. He's just bursting with cute.

Corbin likes to sport a jaunty look and set his party hat at a rackish angle. He's just bursting with cute.

Willow loved her party hat but what I love most is that her ears are almost as tall as the hat itself!

Willow loved her party hat but what I love most is that her ears are almost as tall as the hat itself!

Corbin, Willow and Niner were all smiles when it came to party time. But first... presents.

Corbin, Willow and Niner were all smiles when it came to party time. But first... presents.

We let the dogs play with the presents and they set off with them. Willow ended up running joyfully all over the countryside with a box in her mouth. But finally Niner got a hold of one.

We let the dogs play with the presents and they set off with them. Willow ended up running joyfully all over the countryside with a box in her mouth. But finally Niner got a hold of one.

The pride with which Niner trotted back with a box in tow is just too much.

The pride with which Niner trotted back with a box in tow is just too much.

Presents, he thinks, are awesome.

Presents, he thinks, are awesome.

But after presents, the dogs were eyeballing that stack of pupcakes. It was time for the feast to begin.

But after presents, the dogs were eyeballing that stack of pupcakes. It was time for the feast to begin.

Each dog was given a cupcake and the go-ahead to enjoy. It's not every day you get to eat your fill of such big treats!

Each dog was given a cupcake and the go-ahead to enjoy. It's not every day you get to eat your fill of such big treats!

Willow thinks that frosting-first is the only way to eat a cupcake.

Willow thinks that frosting-first is the only way to eat a cupcake.

In an eating contest, Willow and Niner competed to see who...

In an eating contest, Willow and Niner competed to see who...

...could get the most frosting on their nose...

...could get the most frosting on their nose...

...and lick all of it off first. It was pretty much a tie.

...and lick all of it off first. It was pretty much a tie.

But the winner of who could knock over the most cupcakes seemed to go to Niner, who enjoyed every minute.

But the winner of who could knock over the most cupcakes seemed to go to Niner, who enjoyed every minute.

And once the cupcakes were done, they remembered that they each had a jar of treats to enjoy as well.

And once the cupcakes were done, they remembered that they each had a jar of treats to enjoy as well.

Going for consistency in knocking things over,  Niner dove into his treats as well, with Willow looking on and politely waiting for an in.

Going for consistency in knocking things over,  Niner dove into his treats as well, with Willow looking on and politely waiting for an in.

Overall, I think the birthday boy had a great party.

Overall, I think the birthday boy had a great party.

The dogs looked on at the wreckage of the party and seemed pretty satisfied with it, but...

The dogs looked on at the wreckage of the party and seemed pretty satisfied with it, but...

... had to make one last check for crumbs.

... had to make one last check for crumbs.

And there were some to be had.

And there were some to be had.

I think we'll do it all over again next year.

I think we'll do it all over again next year.

Get a peek behind the scenes and see what went into the planning, preparation and posing for this shoot! You can see the collaboration from my end in this post, and also learn the things you need to consider to pull off your own conceptual photo shoot. I can't wait to work with this amazing duo again.