THE dogs in Clunes absolutely adore their local butcher Michael de Kort.
It was the perseverance of one dog, little Staffy Louis, who would regularly visit the shop and sit patiently at its door until he was given a treat that got the ball rolling.
Louis would pay a visit to Mr de Kort at Long View Farm and Meats for over two and a half years while his owner would have a coffee on Fraser Street. Sadly, at 12, he recently passed away.
But Louis started a trend and it didn't take long for the other dogs in the town to catch a whiff of the generosity of the local butcher and they started to visit too.
It was through feeding the dogs of the town his off cuts that Mr de Kort met many of the town residents as a newcomer.
Mr de Kort loves dogs. He has dogs at the farm at home and one of his favourite activities is working them with his sheep, so organising a dog Christmas party wasn't a huge leap.
On Friday morning dogs dressed in festive bows and Santa hats trotted over to the butcher for what has become a Christmas tradition in the town, towing their humans behind them.
Some sat on Santa's lap for a photo, but most just enjoyed being hand fed a sausage treat by Mr de Kort and receiving their neatly wrapped Christmas biscuit.
Gill and Neal Jedwab and their two black labradors attended, among the many other dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities.
"Everyone loves Michael," Ms Jedwab said. "[Lola] always knows when we are just around the corner."
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.