By Mark Squibb/September 23, 2021
You may not know Nina Thompson of Paradise, but you likely know her dogs.
Thompson lives on Topsail Road. And if you’ve driven past her home, you’ve seen her dogs standing out in her front yard. You’ll never hear them bark or growl — they are made of concrete after all— but with their stylish and outlandish costumes, they’re impossible to miss.
Thompson’s been dressing the dogs for the past 15 years or so, and it all started with a simple suggestion.
“Someone came one time and said, ‘The dog looks cold, you should put some earmuffs on him,’” laughed Thompson. “I don’t even remember who said it too me, it might have been one of my kids, but I started putting little things on them.”
The dogs have an outfit for every occasion —Halloween, Christmas, Canada Day, Valentine’s Day, hunting season, spring, summer, winter, autumn and any other day you can name — and Thompson often gets help from her grandkids to help dress them.
She said she didn’t know how big a splash the dogs were making until a few years back when she started getting Christmas cards from folks who got a smile out of the pups when they drove by in the mornings.
She had lost the dogs some years back following a breakup, and that might have been the end of the story, had her daughters not set out to find replacement pups.
They surprised Thompson on Mother’s Day a few years back with a big dog that the girls had found and repaired.
“That was the best, because then I had one back,” said Thompson.
The girls continued looking for two concrete pups to join the big dog, and managed to find them, though in need of repairs and purchased at a higher cost than usual — one for $150, and the other in exchange for workplace safety training.
They say it was worth it just to reunite the dogs.
Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn presented the family with a certificate Saturday morning upon the reunion of the dogs to acknowledge the joy they bring to commuters.
For the occasion, the dogs wore bright glasses and collars, and a sign strung with colourful doodads reading ‘Better Together’ was hung around the big dog’s neck. At their feet were sprigs of autumnal foliage.
Thompson does not own any actual dogs, as they’re too messy.
But the concrete ones do just fine.