VANCOUVER -- As Vancouver continues to cope with smoky skies and the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, a local pinata artist has created a new pet-themed show she hopes will bring some much needed joy to her neighbourhood.

Meaghan Kennedy has made more than three dozen pinata caricatures of West End dogs, which are on display at Melriches coffee shop on Davie Street.

"I really just wanted to do something to feature positive things that have happened during this bananas time that we are in right now," she said.

Kennedy, a West Ender herself, made pinata likenesses of the regular customers at Melriches several years ago. The pinatas were displayed at the coffee shop, which Kennedy said created a strong sense of community.

She hopes her new show will inspire the same feelings.

"The response I've gotten has been hilarious," she said. "People are messaging from all over the place saying, 'Oh my God, my friend's dog is on the wall at this coffee shop' and they're like, in Alberta."

Pinata dog

Kennedy originally wanted to make pinatas of neighbourhood frontline workers, but found people were reluctant to have their pictures taken. So she decided to make dogs instead, and put out a call on her community Facebook page for submissions from pet owners.

"I thought maybe be six or seven people would send me photos, and like, 50 people sent photos of their dogs," she said. "And so I had to kind of cap it."

The 39 dog pinatas on display have the names and photos of their real-life counterparts hanging next to them, and will be up until the end of October.

Boston Terrier Pinata Dog

While there are many lovable fur babies in the show, Kennedy says her favourite is probably her own dog, Ice Cream, a Turkish Akbash- Italian Maremma mix.

"She's perfect," she said. "She's so nice and cute, and I just love her."

Ice Cream and pinata

Kennedy felt people could use an infusion of happiness right now, and drew inspiration for the show from the warm reactions people have to canine companions.

"People get so excited when they see dogs, they're like, 'Oh my God, your dog's amazing. Tell me everything about her,'" she said.

"And I thought OK, well, this could work. This could be something fun and cute...and dogs are really funny and I've always felt we need more dog shows on the news and more positive things in the world."

And for all the cat people who might be feeling left out, some feline friends will soon be added to the display.

The owner of Melriches asked Kennedy to extend her show an extra month since the response has been so positive, so 10 cats will also be added to the mix.

Kennedy didn't charge anyone for her pet creations, and she plans to give the pinatas to their owners and pet twins in a physically distanced event at the end of October, with people encouraged to make a donation to the SPCA.

"I don't look to profit from this. I just wanted to do something that would make people happy," she said.

"I just wanted to do something to give back to the community because this neighbourhood is awesome."

All images provided by artist Meaghan Kennedy.

Meaghan and Ice Cream