The adventures of a Dalmatian dog are helping children understand the effects of second-hand smoke.
Domino is the central character of a book produced by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s tobacco control team.
The story, aimed at children aged seven to nine, is designed to teach youngsters about second-hand smoke.
Domino, who lives with seven-year-old Lucy and her parents who are smokers, becomes unwell and lethargic.
His concerned owners take him to the vet who realise Domino may have been exposed to second-hand smoke.
The book was written in conjunction with Eastlea Primary School, in Cramlington and Cramlington-based vet Colin Skinner.
Health improvement practitioner Janette Wood said: “Domino’s story is a thoughtful approach for children to learn about a sensitive health topic.
“Focused discussion points guide the reader to engage children to consider the potential harmful effects smoking tobacco may have.
“Domino’s story has a happy ending, and we hope raising awareness of this issue in a factual non-alarming way, will encourage more people to make their homes smoke-free for their children and pets.”
Colin approached the Health Improvement Service following his increased awareness of animals being exposed to second-hand smoke.
He said: “It’s good to use animals to get a message across to kids. That’s the way the kids will relate to the fact that second hand smoke affects their pets.”
The book is accompanied with props, including a medical kit, a vet’s coat and life-size soft toy replicas of the two dogs in the book.
Eastlea Primary School’s headteacher Emma Beeston said: “Pets are a great way to get the pupils’ attention because they love them.
“Lots of children at the school have pets. Domino’s story has come on a long way and we have props as well as the book so it really is sending an important message to the children.”
The children who have enjoyed Domino’s story are Lewis Lintern, 8; Jay Maudling, 8; Jorja Smailes, 9; Megan Douglas, 8; Jayden Herron, 8; and Katie Davidson, 8.