You don’t need to be a dog to pay special attention to the fire hydrants in Stellarton, N.S.

They’ve been painted with unique designs since the town's centennial back in 1989, and now they’re receiving a facelift.

Artist Jane Ford is one of two students hired this summer to repaint about 50 hydrants around town. It can be a messy job, but it's one that both painters enjoy.

“I’ve always seen the hydrants when I was little, so I thought it would be cool if I could paint them myself since I love art,” says hydrant artist Jane Ford.

The artists say they also enjoy the freedom to paint the hydrants any way they wish.

“All the ones we do we pretty much do ourselves,” says hydrant artist James MacDonald. “We don't really get told what they want done.”

Some are obvious, like a masked robber outside a bank or a Mountie with a yellow stripe outside the RCMP detachment.

One new design features rainbow colours on a hydrant to represent the LGBTQ community.

“To show Stellarton is an inclusive community for all. That was suggested by the Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health and we accommodated that,” says Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivray.  

Painted hydrants may be a fun idea, but Mayor MacGillivray says safety is still his number one priority.

“We make sure that when they are painted that they will still loosen and work so that the hose can still be hooked up,” Mayor MacGillivray says. “That is looked after by Public Works to make sure they're still functioning because they're a very important piece of infrastructure that needs to be functioning.”

In this case, they're also functioning as a special attraction.

“I think it's a great idea. It's work for the students that are coming out and painting them every year and they make the town look beautiful,” says Wendy Bowman.

“I enjoy them. It's very nice. Adds a lot of character to the town,” says Maxine MacGillivray.

The Stellarton Homecoming Festival is set to begin July 26, and Mayor MacGillivray says they're hoping to have all the fire hydrants on Foord Street painted in time for the celebration.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.