Mrs Dog by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall touched me to my childhood bones.
Growing up in rural NSW meant that the story featured in Mrs Dog was not unknown to me. So many of my friends who lived on farms had a story about a dog and a lamb not unlike Freeman’s one.
Mrs Dog is a retired farm dog that takes on the care of an orphaned lamb.
Lamb learns to act like Mrs Dog around the yard and with the other animals. Mrs Dog teaches her how to be safe around the farm. But the only thing lamb can’t do is bark like Mrs Dog.
Until one day, when Mrs Dog finds herself in grave danger, and lamb discovers how brave she really is.
The illustrations have a gentle, nostalgic feel and combined with the text created, for me, a connection to the heart-warming movie, Babe.
The Babe connection was made with the naming of the creatures from Mrs Dog’s point of view – there are ‘woolly-heads’, ‘tall-one’, ‘tall-two’, ‘baa-rah’ and ‘beaky-wings’.
Mrs Dog is a tender, touching story. It’s full of hope, courage and kindness in all guises.
Dog stories like this resonate so strongly because they are not only based on true stories that we can relate to, but because they also remind us of our better natures.