Snow­dogs: Tails in Wales Trail

Exhibited by
Joe Burnett
June 14, 2018
Medium of Communication
Press, online, social media
Target Audience
Individuals, companies.
Type of Charity
Children's hospice
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
Autumn 2017

SOFII’s view

This is the kind of campaign I wish I'd been aware of at the time it was launched: it must have been so much fun for donors and the local communities of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales to explore the Snowdogs trail discovering exciting and unique Snowdog statues. Along the way, children's hospice Tŷ Hafan were able to raise unprecedented awareness of their cause and the great work they do, not to mention garnering a staggering number of donations in the process. The campaign also shows what can be achieved when a charity works closely with creative partners such as art groups and book publishers.

Summary / objectives

Tŷ Hafan, a hospice for children in Wales, wanted to come up with a radical and new campaign to raise money. They therefore teamed up with public art producers Wild in Art and licensor Penguin Ventures and, inspired by The Snowman and The Snowdog, the sequel to Raymond Briggs' classic picture book and film The Snowman, landed on a fun and interactive idea designed to appeal to donors, the Snowdogs: Tails in Wales Trail.


  • Tŷ Hafan is the leading Welsh children’s hospice for life-limited patients. Its services are available throughout Wales and are free to any family that needs them.
  • Life-limited means that the child or young person is not expected to live beyond 18 years old. They do not use the words ‘terminal’, ‘sick’ or ‘ill’.
  • The average age of a child referred to Tŷ Hafan is four years old.
  • Tŷ Hafan has supported more than 600 families since its inception in 1999.  
  • Tŷ Hafan provides specialist palliative care addressing the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each member of the family.
  • The majority of Tŷ Hafan’s work is about ‘quality of life’ rather than ‘end of life’. It is focused on ‘making the most of short and precious lives.’ 
  • Tŷ Hafan provides care for the whole family – from diagnosis to bereavement. Tŷ Hafan offers families end-of-life care in the hospice or at home. 
  • Tŷ Hafan is not a hospital and is very different from an adult hospice. A child and his/her family can be referred at the time of diagnosis with care and support being provided throughout the course of the child’s condition, which can be for many years.
  • Tŷ Hafan provides support to the whole family almost anywhere,
    whether it is at the hospice, their own home or in hospital. Tŷ Hafan’s aim is to provide support to families in an environment they feel most comfortable.
  • Tŷ Hafan provides services such as family support, complementary therapy, music therapy and outreach play both within the hospice and in the family home.
  • The children and young people who access Tŷ Hafan’s services sufferfrom a broad range of conditions, many with profound and complex medical needs. Some of the conditions are so rare they haven’t been named.
  • It costs more £4.2 million every year to provide Tŷ Hafan’s services to those families who need them. Tŷ Hafan receives less than 10% income from Local Health Boards (LHBs) and the Welsh Government.
  • The rest of Tŷ Hafan’s income is generated by public donations and
    fundraising - including community and corporate events, legacies – and its commercial activities such as its lottery and shops. 

Special characteristics

The trail saw 43 giant Snowdog sculptures and a further 57 smaller Snowpups unleashed onto the streets, open spaces and iconic locations across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan as part of the biggest ever mass participation public art trail in Wales – and the first event of its kind in the region. 

The 10-week-long campaign saw 350,000 visitors take part in the trail, 20,000 young people engaged in the learning programme that was integral to the project, 1.8 million impressions on social media and the economic impact in the area reported to be over £10 million.

As part of the campaign, Tŷ Hafan asked businesses and members of the public across south Wales to sponsor their own Snowdog, each of which was named and decorated with its own unique design by an artist or celebrity before being taken out for ‘walkies’ and positioned on a plinth at a location along the trail. The smaller ‘puppy’ sculptures were decorated by local schoolchildren and youth groups, sponsored by schools and local businesses. Members of the public followed the Trail using the Snowdogs map or app to track down as many of the sculptures as possible.    

In a fantastic finale just before Christmas, the colourful canines were auctioned off and bought by a variety of generous donors who have now given them a ‘furever home’.

Bringing together the business and creative sectors with local communities and schools, the project celebrated the cultural identity of the community, showcased the wealth of artistic talent and contributed to the economic, cultural and social life of the city and beyond. 


The Snowdogs: Tails in Wales Trail raised a staggering £250,000 for Tŷ Hafan.

‘The Snowdogs Trail was one of our most exciting campaigns ever, with our giant dogs visible on the streets, parks, beaches and iconic buildings across Cardiff and the Vale’, 

said Sara Webber, Project Director for Tŷ Hafan’s Snowdogs: Tails in Wales Trail.

‘But we could never have anticipated the overwhelming response to our Snowdogs, and all of the truly incredible support that Tŷ Hafan has received throughout and since the campaign - from businesses, sponsors, artists, schools, the public and the wider community’. 

Ben Reed, Head of Creative Development at Wild in Art, said: 

‘We’re thrilled that our first Snowdog Art Trail in Wales transformed its capital city into a family-friendly art gallery while raising lots of smiles and making a big positive impact on its people and places. Our award-winning formula with Penguin Ventures inspired people of all ages to get out and about to discover the magical stories behind the Snowdogs artwork, while at the same time they learned more about the amazing work of Tŷ Hafan.’ 

Other relevant information

About The Snowman™ and The Snowdog

Originally published in 1978, The Snowman, created and illustrated by Raymond Briggs has become one of the world’s most popular children’s books. Available in 15 languages it has sold in excess of 5.5 million copies worldwide with over 3 million of these sales in the UK published under Puffin editions. Adapted for screen by producer John Coates, the Oscar-nominated animation launched on Channel 4 in its inaugural year in 1982 and has been repeated every Christmas since. The sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog premiered on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve 2012 and was seen by over 10 million people over the festive period. The Snowman brand enjoys an international audience with global broadcast of the sequel, along with an array of consumer products now available.  Snowman Enterprises Limited (SEL) is managed by Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House.