Image © ™ Hairy Maclary and Friends, Lynley Dodd

What happens when a popular children’s book character, an Art Gallery and a local animal shelter combine forces? All sorts of ‘kerfuffle, jittery, skittery, mischievous, mad fun’ – But that’s no surprise for Hairy Maclary fans of all ages…….

I have to admit – I’m a huge fan of the Hairy Maclary series of books created by New Zealander Dame Lynley Dodd. As a mum I have thoroughly enjoyed reading out loud these cheeky, rhyme laden and beautifully illustrated books to my children over the years. My kids have grown up knowing all dalmatians as ‘Bottomley Potts’ (all covered in spots) and all daschunds as ‘Schnitzel von Krumm’ (with the very low tum).Lynley-Dodd-Hairy-Maclary-Exhibition So when Hairy Maclary (from Donaldson’s Dairy) decided to pay a visit to the Cairns Regional Gallery over the recent School Holidays I was there with bells on (and possibly a little more excited than my kids). The Art Gallery has done a wonderful job of showcasing Lynley Dodd’s sketches and prints of her beautiful work over the years. They’ve also created a plethora of activities – colouring competitions, kids art workshops, book readings, dress-up competitions, book signings and a canine walk – all revolving around a mischievous dog and his entertaining antics.Hairy-Maclary-ExhibitionFor dog lovers though, possibly the most exciting thing of all has been the opportunity for a local animal shelter to become involved and benefit from Hairy Maclary’s visit. Firstly through the ‘Moggies and Mongrels Mega Draw’ – where people donate consumable’s to YAPS Wish List and receive a raffle ticket to win some great prizes. And secondly through the canine walk or ‘Promenade on the Esplanade Dog Walk’ that raised a considerable amount of donations for YAPS.Hairy-Maclary-ExhibitionDogs and their owners were encouraged to dress up as characters from the Hairy Maclary series of books. So with the help of a can of black hair spray, my dog Scooter became transformed into the dalmation ‘Bottomly Potts’. I was amazed at how many people were seriously taken in by his handmade spots and asked what breed he was.YAPS-canine-walkSo, was the canine walk just like a scene out of a Hairy Maclary book? Well, I’m sorry to admit that it was a very well-mannered and organized affair – not ‘a scramble of paws, a tangle of bodies OR a jumble of jaws’ to be seen. Everyone involved set a cracking pace out along the Esplanade and dogs and owners helped create a bit of extra publicity for YAPS. They also managed to raise quite a bit of money for the local animal shelter.

And do you think Hairy Maclary would have been happy with the day? Perhaps if the dogs had been allowed a quick offleash romp in the Cairns Esplanade mud, then maybe the little dog from Donaldson’s Dairy would have been very happy. And maybe author Lynley Dodd might have had her next storybook in the making…..

Do you have a favourite character from the Hairy Maclary series? Are canine walks like this one happening in your neighbourhood?

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