Esta Overmars is the chairwoman and founder of the Asian and Hong Kong Dachshund Society, in which capacity she sent an e-mail a few months ago seeking models for the society's 2004 calendar. Overmars, though careful to confine herself to canines ('We will only take photos of the dogs, not their human owners!'), included a lengthy request list: 'senior dachshunds, puppies, longhair red, longhair dapple, longhair chocolate, shorthair red, shorthair black/tan, handicapped dachshunds (like in wheelchair), wirehair dachshunds' and itemised the various places - Lantau, Repulse Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, the Star Ferry - where the dachshunds could expect to be photographed. Last month, Overmars was still in the process of shooting the calendar; in fact, she was in the early stages of matching month and concept, trying to decide which dog should be photographed where, in an effort to attract the European canine-calendar market. 'I bet the Europeans are going to be interested,' she said in another e-mail, 'because most dachshund calendars are just a collection of photos put together, while we're planning every month with its location.' The fact that there is a selection of dachshund calendars out there, jostling for attention, might come as a surprise, but it's evidently a dog-eat-dog-calendar world and Overmars, a Dutch web-designer who lives on Lantau, wasn't taking any chances. Promoting Hong Kong's dachshunds needed serious planning; indeed, there was talk of approaching the Hong Kong Tourism Board to engage in a joint promotional venture. Meanwhile, Overmars appeared at the outdoor section of the IFC's Pacific Coffee branch one recent sunny afternoon, carrying Jade, her red-sable longhair dachshund, who was getting ready for her close-up at the base of the new 2IFC tower. Jade isn't used to city life and barked at every passer-by, which meant conversation was punctuated by Overmars' admonitions of which, she explained, there are three degrees: Uh-uh! ('That is the lowest and softest'), Phuey! ('That is for something very naughty which is not allowed and has been done already') and Nee! ('That means 'no' in Dutch and is very strict'). 'She needs to be more socialised,' said Overmars, after Jade had barked at a child, two businessmen and a startled Pacific Coffee employee. 'But she is better than Harry and Potter who are too rowdy. That's why I will photograph them on the beach in Lantau.' Harry and Potter are Overmars' other dachshunds and reflect her high opinion of J.K. Rowling's work ('I've finished the first four parts seven times and the fifth part two times already'). She bought the brothers in a pet shop in Mongkok a couple of years ago; Jade came later and cost $680 from a Mongkok street-hawker. 'I asked him to look for a puppy. Probably from a puppy mill, where they produce them all the same, but never mind.' When asked if dog-hawkers should be encouraged, Overmars' reply was unusual for a Hong Kong dog-lover: 'Actually, yes, because their turnover is higher and they take more care because they're only small entrepreneurs. And I heard' - she lowered her voice - 'that pet shops are in the hands of triads. That's why I would suggest supporting street vendors because they're doing honest business. Phuey!' Jade stopped barking and Overmars picked her up and set off to find a suitable photo location within 2IFC. She paused at a glittering, white Christmas tree, obviously thinking of the December page of the 2004 calendar. 'Now comes the difficult part,' she remarked, thrusting Jade under the tree's branches. Several shoppers gathered, in amazed delight, while she rolled dog-snacks along the floor that were Hoovered up by Jade. Overmars, using a small, non-digital camera, clicked away for several seconds, then said, 'That was a good one.' The pair walked on. Overmars, who is not keen on security guards but had decided a direct approach was best, went to an IFC employee and announced, 'We're taking photographs, promoting Hong Kong. Is it possible to get on the lawn?' She made an expansive gesture and added, 'Small dog, big picture.' The guard, eyeing Jade, replied, 'I think you can. Unless someone stops you.' Overmars, who has lived in Hong Kong for six years, moved on, saying, 'They were afraid she will foul the place, they're so itchy those guys.' Out on the grass, beneath the soaring tower of 2IFC, it was soon evident there was a problem of scale: either Jade could be snapped posing at the base of the tower or Overmars could photograph the top of the tower, without Jade, but a full-length picture of dog and tower together wasn't going to be possible. Lying on her stomach, next to a bag of fertiliser (which happened, as she patriotically noted, to come from the Netherlands), Overmars manoeuvred her camera up and down with one hand while Jade wobbled around on her little legs. 'I can't get the whole thing in one,' fretted Overmars. 'It's going to have to be photographed from the flyover I think. We won't have the bottom of the tower but we will have the top and that's what it's about.' On the pedestrian flyover, some distance from the tower, Overmars said, 'Amazing. You still can't get it here.' After some thought, she positioned Jade next to a railing with a section of the IFC tower as a backdrop. Jade was becoming restless so Overmars said, 'Would you mind throwing some snacks to keep her in the corner?' This otherwise simple request was accompanied by the observation, 'Dachshunds have the bark of a big dog. And the teeth of a big dog - razor-sharp, like scissors. Snoepie! - that means 'candy' in Dutch - snoepie.' Jade growled and her owner said, with affection, 'Dachshunds can sing very beautifully.' Ten minutes later, Jade having eaten a large quantity of nervously hurled snoepie, Overmars said, 'I think that went not too bad. We found the location. I didn't get the whole building but I got some skyline and that's okay.' Encouraged by this success, she discussed the models for her next shoots. 'New Central Library,' she said. 'We'll have a senior dachshund there - 10 years plus, a bit grey, from all the reading. And Michael, in a wheelchair, at Stanley Market's colonial building. But it's not really a wheelchair, it's a support with wheels for the hindlegs because this little Michael was found strapped to a bus-stop and he got paralysis.' Satisfied with her afternoon's work, Overmars went off, clutching Jade under her arm. What with one thing and another, however, some of the shoots were delayed, and a few weeks later she sent an e-mail to say it would be too stressful to complete the calendar by January and it would come out in March (with some extra months added as compensation). Undeterred by this set-back, she's already planning the 2005 dachshund calendar - 'It's going to be on the theme of 'The Classic Dachshund', with dachshunds situated in rich, plush surroundings, on beautiful pedestals, with Chinese antiques' - which will be shot entirely indoors.