Vandalized horse leads to positive message

Despite having been significantly vandalized twice, Tattoo, the painted horse, is still being supported by businesses in Brookswood through a fundraising campaign for a children’s book about bullying.

One of the early fundraising methods was the sale of Tattoo buttons which are almost sold out now, but Mary McCarthy of Brennan’s Mens and Ladies Wear said the efforts will continue.

“We have to raise $8,000 before it can be published,” McCarthy said of the book which is already written and illustrated.

Conjured up after the first attack on Tattoo, the book was written by Ruthie Charles and illustrated by the same artist who originally painted Tattoo, Marilyn Dyer.

With its focus on anti-bullying, Tattoo, The Painted Horse is about the harms of hurtful actions and how those types of behaviour hurt everyone.

As in the case of Tattoo, McCarthy noted, the vandalism has hurt the entire community.

“I know that our park is well used, I imagine it is also abused,” she said. “Now [when the horse is repaired for a second time] we have to find another place where he’ll be safe. It’s disheartening. There’s no point putting him behind glass or in a store, the vandals will have virtually won [if we do that].”

The Brookswood Village Merchants Association has roughly $2,000 in the bank to put towards publishing the book.

“My job is to sell the buttons,” McCarthy said. “We have very few left.”

Still $6,000 shy of their goal, the merchants association is hoping for donors to come forward and fund the book project.

“Once the buttons have been sold, we may come up with a new project to raise funds,” McCarthy noted. “What we need now, is we need someone with a very generous heart and deep pockets… to help us fund this project.”

Tattoo was to be revealed at the Brookswood SummerFest, but was vandalized overnight prior to the June 14 event.

“I almost cried,” McCarthy said. “We’re trying to teach them [the vandals] you can hurt me, but I’m going to get back up again.”

She hopes those responsible for the destruction will get the message when the book is published.

“Bullying isn’t the way to communicate,” she added. “The kids will read the books and get the idea.”

Those interested in supporting the book project can find more information on the Brookswood Village Merchant Association site at or contacting McCarthy at Brennan’s Mens and Ladies Wear at 604-533-4128.

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