South East Wales

Mr Dog, Cardiff YouTube video dog, stars in short film

A guard dog who encourages passers-by to throw a ball for him to fetch is the star of a film.

Mr Dog, a three-year-old Alsatian from M&R Decorators' Supplies in Cardiff, had already featured in a viral video which became an internet hit.

Director Si Stratton was involved in setting up a marketing company and thought his antics might make an ideal subject.

He said people travelled from as far afield as London to throw the ball.

The nine-minute short film premiered at Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre on Sunday.

Mr Stratton, originally from Bristol but based in the Welsh capital, said he spotted the dog while walking past the builders' supply yard on Cowbridge Road East, Canton, and it quickly captured his imagination.

"I noticed this guard dog roll a tennis ball under the gate onto the pavement," he said. "Someone next to me picked up the ball and threw it back for the dog to chase."

"I thought the dog was really fantastic, spoke to his owners and they agreed we could do something around him," he said.

'Interactive'

"We started by putting up cameras opposite the yard for a day and found that people were regularly stopping to throw the dog's ball back over the gate."

The video of Mr Dog was posted on YouTube where it has received more than 3,000 hits so far, said Mr Stratton, and the animal now has Facebook and Twitter accounts.

"What we wanted to do was bring people into his world, so we developed interactive games on the internet and with social media sites, putting clues to help people find the lost ball and so on," he said.

Image caption The film follows the dog's ball on a 24-hour adventure around Cardiff

"It's had a good reaction. People started making pilgrimages to come and throw the ball for him. We had people coming from as far as London and Birmingham."

The short film, in which Mr Dog's ball rolls under the gate of the yard and embarks on a 24-hour adventure around the city, features a cast of 12, including two professional actors.

It was shot in three locations across Cardiff, including the yard.

As for his star, Mr Stratton said: "He's more of a pet than a guard dog, really.

"His owners take very very good care of him. They are quite protective of him and don't want to do any publicity or reveal his real name.

"They are a bit bemused by all the attention but have been very helpful."

After its premiere the film will be released on the internet, said Mr Stratton, with 30% of the proceeds going to charity.

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