Pawsitive Tales

Sharing heartwarming tales of animals and their humans.

Jen and Todd — April 5, 2021

Jen and Todd

~ Jen and Todd ~

Over 10 years ago, Todd was found by his forever human, Jen.  Since then, they have faced many challenges, but this has only made their bond that much stronger.  

Initially, Todd was taken in by an acquaintance of Jen. Unfortunately, he was not properly cared for and so found himself struggling with health issues. Jen then decided to help Todd. She took him to the vet and found that he had a urinary tract infection and was covered with fleas. From this, Jen knew Todd was her cat. She looked down at him and fell in love. 

Todd has helped Jen through many tough times and has made the good times better. No matter what happens in Jen’s life, she knows she has Todd right by her side. Having Todd show unconditional love has greatly improved Jen’s life. He will excitedly meet her when she returns home after being out and will happily have cuddles as often as possible.  

Everyone who knows Todd knows him to be an affectionate and relaxed cat. He loves company and whenever Jen has friends over, Todd always makes sure he introduces himself and makes them feel welcome.  

Not too long ago, Jen began leash training Todd. He very much enjoys going outside for walks and exploring with his human. When they’re not out and about, Todd enjoys playing with his many toys and sitting outside on the balcony with Jen, or simply having a good cuddle.  

Unfortunately, in August of 2020, Todd began experiencing frequent vomiting. Initially, they told Jen that Todd had pancreatitis. After medications, Todd was still showing symptoms 6 weeks later. In November, he had an ultrasound and a biopsy which revealed he had Gastrointestinal Large Cell Lymphoma – a type of cancer. 

Without receiving treatment, Todd’s prognosis was that he would survive 4 more weeks. On December 1st of 2020, which was also coincidentally their 9 year anniversary, Todd began his treatments. 50-70% of cats who undergo such treatments can respond well. However, this was a difficult time for both Jen and Todd. He has had to have many tests, treatments and medications to treat the cancer.  

As of February of 2021, Todd is considered to be in clinical full remission. This is an extremely good sign!  It means that the cancer has disappeared and, although he will continue his treatments to make sure, he can get back to being a happy and healthy cat. Despite initially having 4 weeks to live, it has now been 19 weeks and we are thrilled that he is doing better!

It is obvious how much Jen and Todd care for one another. Todd helped Jen through her difficult times, and Jen supported Todd through his cancer journey every step of the way. They share so much love for one another. They truly share such an amazing bond. 

Riae and Saphie — January 25, 2021

Riae and Saphie

~ Riae and Saphie ~

Just over nine years ago, cavoodle puppy, Saphie was born into Riae’s family. Having had Saphie’s mum as their family dog, Riae has known Saphie since day one. The bond they share is amazing.

When Saphie was born, Riae recalls falling in love. Saphie was so small and a different colour to her littermates. She stood out to Riae and from that moment, the two became best friends.

Unfortunately, in 2014, Riae was diagnosed with AMPL cancer. A rare form of leukaemia. This was a harrowing period for her. During this time, Saphie was right there by her side. Riae remembers any time she left the house for treatment, Saphie was always sad to see her leave, but beyond excited for her return.

Riae was in and out of the hospital for years. She underwent many treatments in order to fight the cancer. Through all of it, Saphie supported her and helped her with getting through the difficult time. When Riae was home, Saphie never left her side and ensure Riae had lots of cuddles! Having Saphie definitely offered some solace to Riae amid her journey with cancer.

Since then, Riae has struggled with her mental health. As with her cancer journey, Saphie has supported Riae through her mental health challenges. Whenever Riae is sad or having a tough day, Saphie is right there. She offers comfort and support whenever needed.

Saphie encourages Riae to get some fresh air, to enjoy their time together and have a walk. They especially love walking along the beach! Being able to be in each other’s company brings happiness and tranquillity to both of them.

Having Saphie has brought Riae immense joy. No matter what is happening in Riae’s life, she knows that she has Saphie right there by her side. Riae sees Saphie as her best friend and baby. They have grown up together and gone through life as a team.

Both Riae and Saphie share an amazing bond. It is evident how much they care for one another. Through thick and thin, they have remained the closest of friends. Saphie is now just over 9 years old and enjoys cuddling up next to Riae. When Riae is away from home, she is a model, motorbike enthusiast, among many other things. Seeing these two bloom into the pair they are is awesome.

Heart of Crystal — November 30, 2020

Heart of Crystal

~ Claudia and Crystal ~

After having gone through cancer at the young age of 3 ½, Claudia had experienced many ongoing health issues. After receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer, this luckily got rid of the cancer cells, however, left her with some nasty side effects. This has included severe skin damage, and damage to her joints, muscles and bones, which has led to her having to use a wheelchair permanently.

Amid the worst of the side effects, 9-year-old Claudia was desperate to get a cat. She was unable to do this for years as there was a risk of infection. However, as she was worsening and this was the one thing she was desperate for, the registrars finally gave her permission. Upon returning home after this, Claudia went onto the SPCA website to see which cats were currently there. One cat, in particular, stood out to her and she wrote down the information.

The very next day, Claudia and her mother went to the Auckland SPCA. Unfortunately, she had forgotten the paper she had written the information on, so they went and met all the cats at the shelter. After some time spent, Claudia met a small tuxedo cat named Marilyn. She was named this as she had a beauty spot on her cheek, as did Marilyn Monroe. The cat was timid, and had been in quarantine due to having been found with cat flu.

Claudia felt there was an unspoken bond between them both. She felt that as she had been through much herself, as had this cat, that there was a mutual understanding. It was soon decided that this little cat would become part of the family, though with a new name; Crystal.

Once they returned home, Claudia was in a lot of pain. She was crying in agony. After a few days, she found herself in bed and found it difficult to do much else. Then, Crystal, in her new environment, decided to jump onto the bed and that’s where she stayed for the next six months. She left for food and the toilet, but other than that, she remained by Claudia’s side until she was able to sit up.

During this period, Claudia had home-visiting nurses providing care. This involved changing dressings and providing intravenous (I.V.) medications. Every time this happened, Crystal was there. She would start meowing at the nurses and would try to push them away. As she heard Claudia crying, she would jump onto her lap and shoulders, purring.

Crystal would always stay by Claudia’s side. Whether undergoing treatments or experiencing pain and anxiety, Crystal was always there for Claudia. Not long after adopting Crystal, however, the medical team saw how much of an impact Crystal was having. In 2010, the two were invited to help open the Starship Hospital Cuddle Corner. This is an area in the hospital where patients can go and simply spend time with their pets.

In 2018, Claudia welcomed mobility dog, Wren, in her life. Although this was an adjustment for Crystal, both animals now enjoy spending time together. When it is cold, they enjoy snuggling up together in Wren’s bed.

It has been 11 years since adopting Crystal, and they has remained a very important part of Claudia and her family’s life. The two share a very strong bond. Claudia is now in a better state and no longer experiences the same pain or ongoing treatments. Crystal has been able to retire from her protecting duties, and now spends a lot of time playing, sleeping, and cuddling. Although, if anyone is upset, hurt, or unwell, she is there by their side to help.

A Guiding Light — November 16, 2020

A Guiding Light

~ Eilish and Loie ~

At the end of 2015, Eilish Wilkes met her companion, Loie. Black labrador, Loie, is Eilish’s guide dog. Since having Loie in her life, Eilish has had much more independence and confidence in her daily life.

Since the age of 2, Eilish has had an inoperable brain tumour. 22 years later, Eilish is still undergoing treatments for this to prevent the tumour from growing. Unfortunately, the tumour has led to Eilish being legally blind and experiencing chronic pain. This presented Eilish with many issues, such as being unable to go out on her own and spending a lot of time in and out of hospitals. Her mobility had been greatly impacted. Due to having chronic pain and being blind, going out was a big challenge. Socialising, outings, and many other areas of her life were all affected.

However, in 2015, Eilish’s life changed. Near the end of the year, Eilish was paired with her guide dog, Loie. They have become an amazing team since then. Having Loie in her life has allowed Eilish to have more independence and confidence within her community. This was something that, for so long, Eilish would not have imagined having until she met Loie.

Initially, the two met through Blind Low Vision NZ Guide Dogs. Loie is a gentle, quiet and sensitive girl. Eilish fell instantly in love upon meeting her.

Since Eilish has had Loie, her life has changed immensely. Having Loie meant Eilish could attend university, use public transport, be more social, and a lot more. Loie has given Eilish her independence and confidence to pursue her goals and live the life she wants to. Eilish has always been passionate about advocacy and often talks about her experiences with cancer. She has done a lot of voluntary work, public speaking, and more, all of which Loie has been by her side.

Not only does Loie help Eilish with her work, but also simply going outside. Having Loie means Eilish can now independently go for walks, something she didn’t think would be possible before Loie. Eilish can go anywhere she wishes to with Loie at her side. When out, Loie can help Eilish navigate around any objects that may be in her way, will stop at stairs, crossings, and curbs, and can let her know if something is obstructing their path.

Both Eilish and Loie have had many adventures together. In 2016, Eilish won the Youth Spirit Award at the Attitude Awards. When Eilish went to accept the award, she was able to do this independently with the help of Loie. In 2017, Loie and Eilish ran in the Auckland Marathon with her dad, Pat, for Guide Dogs NZ. These are only two specific moments where Eilish has been beyond grateful to have Loie by her side.

When Eilish is unwell, Loie is right there by her side. She brings Eilish immense comfort and supports her if she is feeling anxious. Simply having Loie there can make Eilish feel safer and calmer. When they are at home and Loie is off duty, Eilish loves watching Loie be a normal dog and having lots of cuddles! If Eilish is in hospital, Loie is allowed to stay and be there for her human. This helps Eilish feel not only comfort but also less alone during these difficult times.

Having Loie has changed Eilish’s life. Eilish says Loie is her life-long best friend and companion. Loie has given Eilish freedom in her life. She is able to be independent, have confidence and strength, and have a social life. With Loie, Eilish finds more people stop and talk to her, offering more acceptance within her community. Eilish has recently started her own business, ELWAC by Eilish Wilkes. This is something that Loie often helps and supports her with, also. In their downtime, they often walk along Lake Taupō, which brings them both a sense of peace and happiness. Above all, they love spending time together and enjoy a lot of cuddles.

Eilish and Loie have an incredible bond. It’s evident how much Eilish and Loie care for and mean to one another. They are an amazing team and are very lucky to have each other.

Furry Support System — October 12, 2020

Furry Support System

~ Helen, Bebe, and Lenny ~

Found with her litter inside a neighbour’s wardrobe in 2007, Bebe found her forever home with her rescuer, Helen. When she was adopted, Bebe was so small, she fit into the palm of Helen’s hand. It was soon discovered that Bebe was a very mischievous little kitten though. Often, Helen would go home during her work breaks to just check on Bebe and make sure she was okay.

Years later in 2018, Helen was diagnosed with stage-two Her2 positive breast cancer. As a result, Helen underwent a lot of treatments. Throughout this harrowing period, Bebe was there to support Helen. When she was undergoing treatments, Bebe sat on her chest and purred. Helen believed Bebe was trying to heal her with her soothing purrs.

The risk of the cancer returning, even after treatment, was somewhat higher than that of other forms of breast cancer. It was because of this, Helen had to have a mastectomy. For Helen, this made the cancer real. It had taken something from her. It was with this new adjustment, she was very thankful to have her fluffy carer.

Throughout the ordeal, Bebe never left Helen’s side. When Helen was at home, Bebe would snuggle up with her and follow her when she was up and about. As a result of all the treatments Helen underwent, she was told that having children would be an issue. She feels having Bebe in her life is like having a child. She felt a sense of inner peace when she cuddled Bebe, especially during this period.

Undergoing cancer treatments had a major physical effect on Helen, but it also had an impact on her mental health. At the end of 2019, Helen introduced a second fur baby to their family. Lenny, a young dog, rescued from the SPCA, helped Helen post-cancer. As with Bebe, having Lenny in her life is like having a second child. Although Helen has not had to be treated since 2018

Lenny, a very active and young dog, encourages Helen to go out. When she is finding it difficult to go outside and socialise, she ensures Lenny gets some exercise.

During times when her mood may be low, watching Lenny play brings Helen happiness. As Lenny is young, he requires a lot of care. This gives Helen something to focus on. Having to both ensure he gets enough exercise in his day and attention, it distracts Helen when she may be struggling with her mental wellbeing. Lenny never fails to make her smile and brighten her day with his energy and character.

Cancer has had a massive impact on Helen, but she feels that the after-effects should have more awareness. This has prompted Helen, and another breast cancer survivor, Belinda Tran-Lawrence, to begin The C Word: Kiwis talk about cancer. This is a podcast in which they both discuss cancer, after-effects, and sometimes welcome guests to speak about their own experiences. Occasionally, Lenny makes himself heard in the background of certain episodes!

Helen is grateful to have Bebe and Lenny in her life. They have both provided her with support and love when she has needed it. She views both of them as her children. Both Bebe and Lenny brighten every day for Helen. She knows that whatever happens, they will be there for her and bring joy to each day.