Charles the Lion Dog

The real and imaginary story of Charles – a lovable “labradoodle” who was mistaken for a lion, and became famous worldwide.

In real life Charles the Lion Dog became an international sensation when he was mistaken for an actual lion wandering the streets of Norfolk, Virginia. His playful owner, Daniel Painter, had groomed the very furry labrador/poodle mix to leave a longer “mane” and a tufted tail resulting in the uncanny resemblance to a lion. When Charles took an impromptu and unaccompanied stroll one morning along streets near the city zoo, several Norfolk residents couldn’t believe their eyes and quickly dialed 911 to report an escaped lion. Police sorted out this most peculiar case of mistaken identity and everyone had a good laugh. Then the local paper saw the police report and ran a story. That was picked up by the local TV news, which was picked up by the national media, which went viral on social media – and suddenly Charles was an international celebrity with appearances on Good Morning America and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and nearly a million-and-a-half views on various videos on YouTube and more than 56,000 friends on his own Facebook page!

Charles the Lion Dog is aimed at young, emerging readers – but will certainly be enjoyed by children of all ages. It is the whimsical story of 7-year-old Daniel who has always wanted a lion for a pet.

His parents try unsuccessfully to explain to Daniel why that isn’t a good idea, suggesting more traditional pet choices, but the youngster isn’t dissuaded. One day while visiting the Humane Society in the hopes of maybe finding Daniel a rescue dog, his frustrated parents have a brilliant idea. They adopt a very raggedy, unkempt labradoodle who desperately needs a home to avoid an untimely demise. They take the dog to the groomer with specific instructions on how to clean up this lovable bundle of fur. The next day, when they present their son with his uniquely coiffed pet, Daniel is smitten. He finally has his lion!

For more information on this Kickstarter Project, click here:

Charles the Lion Dog


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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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