The trio of Snowdogs targeted in a spate of vandalism have been patched up and are back on show.
Aerodog in Market Square and Snowdog Down the Rabbit Hole, as well as Rocket Dog from Newcastle, were damaged last weekend just hours before the Great North Snowdogs arts trail went live across the North East.
Whilst people have been snapping selfies with the rest of the pack all week, the poorly pooches had to be taken away for repairs.
Automotive students from South Tyneside College took the lead and switched from vehicles to became makeshift vets to mend the painted fibreglass figures who are helping to raise funds for St Oswald’s Hospice.
A team of apprentices and level 2 and level 3 students, based at the college’s motor vehicle training centre at Kings Industrial Estate in Jarrow, fixed them with a special fibreglass filler known as glass reinforced plastic – an exact match of the dogs’ original material.
Artists who originally painted the sculptures then joined the students to do final re-touching work, with the dogs in the process of going walkies back to their public exhibition places. The dogs are due to be back on show from Monday.
Body and paint lecturer Alan Fidler said: “It was sad to see that the dogs had been damaged but it’s been a great project for the students to be involved with. The students learn to work with plastics, including glass reinforced plastic, as part of their course, so they were the ideal people for St Oswald’s to turn to.
“We already have links to the hospice and so were delighted to be able to help. The dogs are very beautiful, it’s great to have patched them up and got them back them back to where they are meant to be.
“We are grateful to Jane Hogan and Andrew Moir from St Oswald’s for giving us this opportunity to be involved in the Snowdogs’ initiative.”
Jane Hogan, Great North Snowdogs project lead, said: “We are so grateful to the students from South Tyneside College for stepping up to help us patch up our pack. Thousands of people have already begun our trail and we are delighted that we can now get our poorly pooches back on the streets for all to enjoy.
“Our Snowdogs are beautiful and we want everyone to enjoy them, but they also have an important purpose, as we will be auctioning them to raise funds for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice. We urge visitors to the trail to help us protect our pack and to not sit on them.”
College apprentice auto-body repair student Darryl Seago, 21, from South Frederick Street, South Shields, who helped patch-up the dogs, added: “The Snowdogs have been created to support a really great cause, and so it’s been a pleasure to help out with these repairs.
“It was also a good way for us to practice our skills and to learn a bit more about how to use the tools of our trade. It’s nice to know we’ve contributed to the snow dogs project.”
The sculptures will be auctioned after the trail which closes on November 29.