There was a treat for young visitors to Moat Brae, Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, in Dumfries, Southwest Scotland, last week when a very special guest popped in to join story time.
Julia, a 12-week-old St Bernard pup, is a direct descendant of Alchazandis Joalah, who appeared in the film premiere of Peter Pan with Jason Isaac, Olivia Williams, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jeremey Sumpter and Lynn Redgrave in 2003. Both dogs were bred by Dumfries local Briony Lazarides of ‘Train My Puppy’, Dumfries. Briony is a highly qualified dog training professional and Julia was a credit to her owner’s abilities, impressing visitors young and old with her impeccable conduct on site in the busy visitor attraction.
Natalie Smith of Moat Brae said:
“Nana is one of the most famous dogs in literature, serving as nursemaid to the Darling children, and we celebrate her in our Darling Nursery here at Moat Brae, where a special kennel passageway lets young visitors ‘magically’ move between rooms. It was a real treat to meet Julia and she certainly gave visitors an excuse to ‘paws’ for a moment to reconnect with one of the best-loved characters from ‘Peter Pan’.”
Nana’s breed has been a subject of debate since Peter Pan first appeared on stage in 1904. While most people imagine Nana as a St Bernard, the first actor to play the dog, Arthur Lupino, spent hours studying a different breed entirely. Lupino based his performance on ‘Luath’, a Newfoundland owned by Barrie at the time the play was produced. When the idea of Peter Pan first came to Barrie, however, his dog was a St Bernard called Porthos, and it was as a St Bernard that Disney imagined Nana in the famous animated version of the story.
Moat Brae is open throughout the summer holidays for a fun family day out with storytelling sessions and workshops every day, the Neverland Discovery Garden, café and gift shop, as well as the Enchanted Journeys: Adventures in Storytelling exhibition by Studio MinaLima which further celebrates the story of Peter Pan and his friends, the Darling children.