You never know what you’ll learn chasing down news stories in Burnaby.
Just this week, I was taking photos at Duthie-Union Elementary School on Frances Street in North Burnaby for a story about how the old school has been bought by the province’s French language school board, Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.
I spotted a concrete figure stationed near the front of the building near a minibus owned by the Puddle Splashers daycare, which has run out of the school for years.
The figure, with a smashed face and creepily intact tongue, looked like a medieval gargoyle designed to ward off evil spirits.
It turns out it’s there to ward off evil rodents that had been chewing the wiring of the daycare’s old bus.
“We used to have a different school bus, and rodents and other animals were eating the wiring, and it was very expensive to change the wiring and get it redone underneath the bus,” Puddle Splashers director Shawna Harrison told me.
The child-care provider looked for a solution on Google and learned that strategically placing concrete animals, like the life-sized Puddle Splashers dog, can keep the rodents away.
Apparently, the pests are afraid to go around the concrete guardians.
“We have not had a case since we put it there,” Harrison said.
The dog has been placed in different spots around the building for about seven or eight years, according to Harrison
She said something or someone tipped it over about a year ago and smashed off its snout.
But the kids at the daycare seem unperturbed by its disfigurement.
“The kids all love it,” Harrison said. “A lot of kids pet it when they walk by. If we move it to a different spot, they ask where it’s gone.”