RAPIDLY changing everyday rules of lockdown life may be tricky for people to follow, but what about their four-legged friends who’ve suddenly found the world they know turned upside down?

How do you explain to your canine companion that regular cosy walks with friends and neighbours are now off limits? Designer and illustrator Margaret Swift, has taken a unique dog’s eye view of pandemic protocol in her new children’s book all about lockdown – from ground level up.

Doodle the puggle – a cheeky and very inquisitive cross between a beagle and a pug – is a regular character in the many children’s books prolific Dales artist Margaret has illustrated, but this charming new story finally puts Doodle centre stage, along with all her other regular dog-walking friends around the lanes of a busy North Yorkshire village.

“Normally I’d be working with an author right now on our next project, but everything has changed for everybody. So one day I started to play around with sketches of Doodle out and about here,” explained Margaret.

“Doodle has her own routine out with me at the same time every day, and she is used to seeing the same dogs and their owners walking the same routes in the village,” she said from her studio.

“But with the lockdown we’ve all been keeping a safe distance from each other; it means the dogs are staying away as well. The rules can be confusing for adults, what must it be like on paw patrol!”

That was the inspiration for ‘ “Walkies!” (then wash your paws),’ Margaret’s magical new story of life around her own neighbourhood in Rathmell. As well as all the wonderful illustrations of Doodle’s adventures, Margaret has for the first-time written the entire story herself – and included an interactive children’s quiz.

“It was a chance to hopefully help teach the little ones a bit more about why we must keep dogs on leads in fields with lambs – and also why it’s important for the grown-ups to keep a safe distance as well while we are in this strange time together.”

And Doodle also finds time for a surprisingly profound message about coping with life in the pandemic. Talking to her best friend Ted the terrier Doodle says that maybe the solution for adults is to stop always looking down in lockdown and start looking up to find a solution. Sure enough a rainbow appears on cue over the lamb-filled fields.

Many villagers in and around Settle will recognise Doodle’s favourite postman who never forgets to give her a biscuit – and the farmer driving by who always smiles and waves. But for the Rathmell Rovers navigating lockdown nothing is quite like it was before ‘social distancing’ became the norm.

Margaret hopes children far and wide will learn a little more about country life and canine care through Doodle’s adventures. She added: “It’s a dogs’ tale of our times really. One day I’m sure we’ll all look back at this and think ‘was it really like that for so long’? Who knows, it may even make one or two of the adults smile!”

‘ “Walkies!” (then wash your paws)’ costs £8.99. More details from margaretswift.co.uk.