Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: Posing around the table in party hats

All photos © Jaymi Heimbuch/Photo Lab Pet Photography

MNN writer and photographer Jaymi Heimbuch is well-known for going the extra mile for her beloved pup, Niner (pictured above, right, and below). The pair are virtually inseparable, and it isn't uncommon to find them hitting the local hiking trails or working on photoshoots together.

Niner, the birthday boyThat's why it should come as no surprise to learn that when Niner's birthday rolls around, Heimbuch goes all out — party hats, doggy cupcakes, the works!

For Niner's fourth birthday, Heimbuch knew she wanted to do something extra special. After brainstorming ideas to combine the elements of hiking, picnicking, tree climbing and a photoshoot into one big event, Heimbuch settled on the idea of a birthday "pawty" inspired by the Hundred Acre Wood of Winnie-the-Pooh fame.

To make this happen, she called up her friends Natalia Martinez and Bill Parsons of Photo Lab Pet Photography, who also happen to be the parents of two of Niner's best doggy friends (and party guests): Corbin and Willow (seen above, left to right). Martinez and Parsons quickly jumped on board, and the trio got to work.

A great deal of planning was put into the party, from scouting the perfect location and preparing scrumptious party noms to creating party decorations that would put the cutest of Pinterest boards to shame.

Party prep aside, there was also the matter of coordinating and posing the dogs, which is no easy task if a dog doesn't respond well to important commands. Luckily, Niner, Willow and Corbin are all patient and well-trained in obedience.

"As dog lovers, having canid subjects in and of itself is sheer joy, but getting to work with three of our favorite dogs in the world makes it extra special," Heimbuch writes on her blog. "We know these three dogs inside and out, and it was easy to get them into position for posed shots as well as let them run around to capture the silly spirit of the day."

Of course, one of the best parts about any birthday party is the cake! It was no different for Niner's birthday bash.

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: Balancing pupcakes

Heimbuch made a batch of her homemade dog cupcakes, which are grain-free, sugar-free and frosted with liver paste. After giving them the go-ahead, the dogs quickly scarfed them down. Needless to say, they were a hit!

Want to learn how to make your own pupcakes? Check out Heimbuch's story on how to make a dog birthday cake, which includes two different recipes to accommodate your pup's flavor preferences.

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: Licking pupcake liver frosting

And if you thought the party was just about spoiling the dogs, you'd be mistaken! The humans were having just as much fun as the dogs.

"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," Heimbuch writes. "Both the photos and the joyful experience of the afternoon are something I'll cherish forever."

Check out a few behind-the-scenes shots below:

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: Behind the scenes!

You can read more about what went on behind the scenes for the party on Heimbuch's blog, as well as tips for how to throw your own themed dog birthday party on the Tails from the Lab blog.

In the meantime, don't forget to wish a very happy birthday to Niner! Here's to another great year of games, hikes, treats and cuddles!

Continue below for more photos from the special day.

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party!

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: Knocking over the pupcake stand

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: 'What a great pawty!'

Niner's 100 acre wood birthday party: Fetching gift box

Happy Birthday, Niner!

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.