Pawsitive Tales

Sharing heartwarming tales of animals and their humans.

Amanda and Arlo — June 24, 2022

Amanda and Arlo

~ Amanda and Arlo ~

A few years ago, Amanda adopted Arlo, a beautiful black Labrador, from Scotland. Since then, Arlo has had a huge impact on Amanda and has changed her life. 

When she was 11 years old, Amanda was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). At the time, her dog, Milly, helped her hugely. Even when Amanda was experiencing awful pain, Milly would always brighten her day and helped and encouraged her to learn to walk again.

Sadly, Milly passed away not long after. She helped Amanda through such a difficult time and losing her was devastating. Some time later, in 2016, Amanda and her family felt it was time to welcome another dog into their home. 

Due to her health conditions, Amanda wanted to find a dog who could help her with her symptoms of CRPS and fibromyalgia. She had heard from a breeder and decided to meet with them and their litter of puppies. Initially, Amanda had wanted a little girl, but when she saw her sister, Steph, holding a tiny black Labrador boy puppy, she knew he was the one. 

Having Arlo has been life-changing for Amanda. He supports her when she’s finding it hard to manage her pain or having a hard day. Without fail, Arlo always seems to know just what to do, from getting Amanda her fluffy blanket or her drink bottle. Even on the worst of days, Arlo can make her smile. 

Something that Amanda and Arlo love doing together is going on adventures. From walking along a field or beach – Arlo loves to swim! As well as this, they love training together and simply just spending time with each other. 

The bond that Amanda and Arlo share is immensely special. They have brought so much happiness and love into each other’s lives and continue to brighten every day.

Christine and Max — June 3, 2022

Christine and Max

~ Christine and Max ~

Four years ago, Christine met 3-year-old Labrador, Max. Since then, they have become the best of friends and have changed each other’s lives. 

In 2018, Christine’s mother asked her to pick up her dogs from their dog sitter. When she arrived, she met Max. The dog-sitter told her his previous owners dropped him off. He had been living in a warehouse as they didn’t want him inside the house, so decided to give him up, so the dog-sitter took him in. Unfortunately, she was unable to look after him as she already had five foster dogs, six dog-sitter dogs and three dogs of her own. Because of this, Christine offered to foster Max. 

Wanting to help him find his forever home, Christine posted pictures of Max on social media. However, it wasn’t long before she fell in love with his sweet little face. They shared a bond already and she knew he was special. From that moment on, there was no doubt that he had found his forever home with her. 

Having Max has had a huge impact on Christine. They go everywhere together – shops, Christine’s horse stables, cafes, etc. As well as this, they enjoy going on adventures together, from hiking, to camping, to swimming! They love spending this time together and being able to experience new sights. 

Before adopting Max, Christine lost her horse to colic. She was devastated as she spent so much of her life caring for her horse. With Max, she had a routine again, a reason to get up each morning, and someone to focus on. Having him gave her a purpose and brought joy into her life once again after her tragic loss. 

One of Max’s favourite things is swimming. He has become very well-known for his swimming adventures. Not only does he enjoy this, but he’s quite a talented diver, too. He will go under the water and perform different tricks, showing off his impressive skills. Christine tries to take Max to the beach as often as possible to brighten his day. She loves watching him swim as he has the time of his life, it brings her so much happiness. 

Max has become Christine’s best friend, companion and part of her family. Each day, they share so much joy and love with one another. The bond they share is so special and they have truly impacted each other’s lives immensely. 

Sara and Samwise — May 20, 2022

Sara and Samwise

~ Sara and Samwise ~

Five years ago, Sara met Yellow Labrador pup, Samwise. Since then, Samwise has had a huge impact on his human’s life and they have formed a very special bond. In the time they’ve been a team, Samwise has given Sara freedom and, as a result, more confidence and independence. 

Sara has struggled with schizoaffective disorder and syncope issues. This can impact her in many ways, from dizziness to hallucinations brought on by anxiety, among other symptoms. It was because of this that Sara decided that getting a service dog would be helpful.

In 2017, Sara heard of a litter of Labrador puppies with one puppy in particular, Samwise, who was a good candidate. After some behavioural tests, he was top of the litter! Samwise had an even temper and enjoyed being around people. He was perfect. However, when Sara went to pick him up, he let out a very loud and opinionated squeal, and she knew they had some work to do. 

It took some time, but Samwise has become a life-changing companion for Sara. He has helped her to have more independence and confidence when out in the community. From blocking people who may be approaching her when out and about, to interrupting certain behaviours that indicate sensory overload or a psychotic episode may be about to happen. When he interrupts these behaviours, he helps to remind Sara to take her emergency medications and to prevent the situation from escalating. As well as this, he also helps by picking up items, turning on lights, and steadies Sara when she feels dizzy. 

Not only does Samwise help her through performing tasks, but also simply being a companion. Sara feels safer with him by her side and he has helped break down barriers for her socially. Before having Samwise, Sara had to have someone with her when she went out. Now, she has the freedom to go out and do what she wants. People would often make negative comments, stare or would move away if she were symptomatic. With Samwise by her side, people see him. They see a beautiful dog and talk to Sara about him. 

During Christmas one year, Sara, Samwise and their family went to Longwood Gardens to watch the Christmas light show. This was a huge experience for Sara and one that Samwise helped her to accomplish. Crowds can be overwhelming for her and, when she’s anxious, she can experience hallucinations. Sara felt confident having his support and it was something she was able to fully enjoy the moment with her family. 

One of their favourite things to do together is trick training. It’s helped to further strengthen their bond and is something they enjoy doing. Not only is it fun, but Sara and Samwise enjoy showing others all the cool tricks that he has learnt. When they’re just wanting to relax, however, both Sara and Samwise simply enjoy being in each other’s company. 

Having Samwise has been life-changing for Sara. He has given her the freedom to live her life how she wants to as she knows he’s always by her side. He’s inspired her to advocate for those with disabilities, to volunteer, and help train service dogs. To Sara, Samwise represents everything she has worked for and continues to work for. They truly share such a beautiful bond and have had such a huge impact on one another. 

Ingrid and Ella — April 8, 2022

Ingrid and Ella

~ Ingrid and Ella ~

Just over six years ago, Ingrid adopted Labrador, Ella. After a challenging start to life, Ella has flourished and has now become part of the student support team at Otago University. 

In 2015, Ella found her forever home. Originally, she came from Western Johannesburg, South Africa. She was rescued by Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) and was cared for there. While there, she met Ingrid, who had been working at CLAW. They had an instant connection and Ingrid decided to adopt Ella. Not long after adopting Ella, Ingrid and her family moved New Zealand.

Four years later, Ella went in to be interviewed with the Otago University Student Support. Suffice to say, she passed with flying colours and has worked there ever since. Ella loves to be around people and she helps students feel more relaxed and happier whenever they pay her a visit. 

Ella also just seems to know when a student needs a bit of extra care. She’s certainly a valued member of the university and has had a huge impact on everyone who meets her! Getting to work and live with Ingrid has also been great for both her and Ella. 

When not at Otago University, Ella enjoys walks around the neighbourhood and along the beach with her humans. It’s one of her favourite times as she gets to spend time with just her humans and she gets a chance to further explore her community. At the end of the day, however, she simply loves spending time with her family and her 3-legged cat friend, Fred. 

The impact that Ella has had on Ingrid and the greater community has been incredible. She has brought so much happiness to everyone she meets and no matter what, just manages to spread a bit of positivity wherever she goes. 

Emily and Billie — March 14, 2022

Emily and Billie

~ Emily and Billie ~

In 2021, Emily adopted Labrador pup, Billie. In the short amount of time since adopting Billie, she and Emily have formed a very special bond and been there for each other through thick and thin. 

Growing up, Emily was surrounded by Labradors. Sadly, before 2021, she lost her dog. This left her devastated and heartbroken. When she felt ready, she spent a lot of time convincing her parents to let her have another dog. Eventually, they gave her permission and she didn’t hesitate to find a new furry friend. 

After a lot of searching, Emily finally found the perfect pup. She had to travel six hours just to meet the puppy, Billie, but as soon as she did, she knew she was the one. Billie was a bubbly and friendly puppy; there was no doubt in Emily’s mind that Billie had found her forever home. 

Having Billie has helped Emily hugely. Before Billie, Emily was a very shy person. Now, thanks to Billie being very social, she has helped Emily to come out of her shell and meet many new people. Not only this, but having a furry friend has given Emily more of a purpose. Each morning she’s encouraged to get out of bed, go out for walks, meet new people, work on training and more. 

It’s obvious that Billie has had a huge impact on Emily’s life. They have brought so much love and positivity into each other’s lives and their bond will only continue to flourish.

Alysha, Jono, Ziggy, Zora and Promise — February 17, 2022

Alysha, Jono, Ziggy, Zora and Promise

~ Alysha, Jono, Ziggy, Zora and Promise ~

Several years ago, Alysha adopted Ziggy. Years later, as she moved in with her partner, Jono, Zora came along and then Promise. They provided all three furbabies with their forever home, but all three have been life-changing for their humans and have all positively impacted one another. 

Just over 13 years ago, Alysha met a beautiful cat who she named Ziggy. Eight years ago, they moved out together to their own place. Then, two years later, Alysha and her partner, Jono, moved in together. Through thick and thin, Alysha and Ziggy have always been by each other’s side and faced any challenges together. Whenever Alysha has felt sad or in need of some comfort, she has found Ziggy gives the best cuddles, too. 

Not long after adopting Ziggy, Alysha and Jono felt it would be good to get another furbaby to keep Ziggy company. They wanted a dog, but at the time, felt they weren’t quite ready, so decided on getting another cat. Alysha and Jono went to their local animal rescue and instantly fell in love with one kitten in particular. She was quite a feisty little thing and had one less tow on one of her paws due to an incident when she was younger. They adopted her and named her Zora. 

It took quite some time for Ziggy and Zora to learn to live with each other. Ziggy, being a bit older than Zora, wasn’t as interested in playing as her younger sister was. Because of this, Zora has had to be in a separate room at night so Ziggy gets some peace and quiet. They have gradually learnt to tolerate each other, but they aren’t quite best friends yet! 

Having Zora has had a big impact on Alysha and Jono. While she has a lot of energy and is feisty, she loves affection. She’ll often sit with Alysha for lots of pats and cuddles, and the occasional scrap off of her plate. Zora is highly food driven, which has allowed Alysha to even teach her some tricks, such as sit, spin, and to shake. 

A year later, Alysha and Jono revisited the idea of getting a dog. They decided that they were ready and began searching. Alysha felt a Labrador would be best, and she wanted to provide a home for an older dog. She spent months looking, until one day, she saw a got in contact with the South Island Labrador Retriever Club about a Labrador named Promise who was about to have her next litter. 

The breeder was unsure if she wanted to rehome Promise. She wanted the best for her dog and, after a lot of thought, felt it was best to rehome her. It was a tough decision, but she knew that Alysha and Jono would provide her with a loving forever home. 

Before being able to bring Promise home, Alysha and Jono visited her often. The first time they met, she was the sweetest and most friendly dog they had met. Almost every Sunday after having her litter, Alysha and Jono would spend time with her. After a couple of months, her pups were able to be adopted and Promise went to go to her new forever home. 

As soon as Promise was welcomed into Alysha and Jono’s family, she brought so much joy and love into their home. She loves to find a nice sunny spot to lay in, but also has zoomies every day where she runs around the yard or their lounge with her favourite toys. At the end of each workday, Promise always greets Alysha and Jono at the door with a toy in her mouth and her tail wagging furiously. No matter what, she always makes everyone around her smile. 

In May of 2021, Alysha was diagnosed with breast cancer. A month later, she underwent a surgery and started chemotherapy. Throughout this, her furbabies have been there for her. When Alysha’s resting in bed, Promise and Ziggy lay with her and provide her with comfort, with the occasional disruption from Zora. By simply being there, they make what she’s going through just a little more manageable. 

Alysha has found her cancer journey to be isolating. Knowing that she has Ziggy, Zora and Promise there has made all the difference. On days when she is finding it particularly difficult, she is grateful to Promise who encourages her to go out for a walk or does something silly to make her smile. As well as this, Promise also loves snuggles and is more than happy to give Alysha as many as she needs.

Not only has Promise had an impact on Alysha and Jono, but also their whole family. Alysha has three sisters, all of whom love seeing the excitable Labrador. Her youngest sister, Mia, spends most of her time, when visiting, with Promise. Lily, second youngest, took some time to warm up to her as she finds it hard to trust dogs, but now they love doing tricks together. And, lastly, Shannen, the eldest after Alysha, while not a dog person, has fallen in love with Promise. 

One of Alysha and Promise’s favourite things to do is go on adventures. They often find off-lead parks where Promise can follow her nose and just explore, even better if there’s a river to swim in! Before Covid, Alysha and Promise would go on road trips to Nelson to visit family and to other places, just for a new adventure. As well as this, they also enjoy learning new tricks together, both new and reinforcing old ones. However, at the end of the day, they love simply spending time together and being in each other’s company. 

The love that Alysha, Jono, Ziggy, Zora and Promise all share for one another is so special. They have been there for each other through so much, and have shared so much happiness. Through all the ups and downs, they know they have one another. 

Zoey and Raven — February 8, 2022

Zoey and Raven

~ Zoey and Raven ~

Almost two years ago, Zoey adopted Raven, a very sweet and friendly Border Collie, German Shepherd and Labrador cross puppy. Since then, they have become the best of friends and Raven has helped Zoey immensely. 

Zoey first met Raven as a puppy. Initially, Raven was living with Zoey’s neighbour, but they weren’t able to care for her, and Zoey asked if she could meet the pup. As soon as Raven saw her, she ran straight into her arms and started licking her face. From that moment, Zoey knew Raven was the perfect dog. 

For a few years, Zoey has struggled with mental health issues. Since adopting Raven, not only has she become Zoey’s best friend, but she has also become her psychiatric service dog. Raven helps her by alerting her to low iron, reminds her to take her medications, does deep pressure therapy (DPT), and much more. Above all, Raven is Zoey’s companion and helps her to have more confidence when out and about. 

One specific time Zoey recalls Raven having a huge impact was helping her through a very dark time. Her mental health had become overhwhelming and she closed herself in the bathroom, in tears. Raven immediately knew something was wrong. She pawed at the bathroom door for 20 minutes and, once Zoey let her in, she laid down on her lap and wouldn’t leave until she felt Zoey was feeling better. 

Since then, Zoey’s mental health has gradually gotten better thanks to Raven’s love and support. She has provided her human with so much happiness and has given her a sense of purpose. Because of the huge impact Raven has had on Zoey, she’s been enrolled in a therapy dog program. Once she completes this, she’ll be able to help others.

Not only has Raven had an impact on Zoey’s mental health, but she has also impacted her physical health. From going out each day to walk Raven, to doing dog agility training, having her canine companion has had a huge impact. Raven loves to learn and Zoey enjoys teaching her new tricks and commands, so it’s time when they just get to be together and have fun. 

Raven has truly had an incredible impact on Zoey. She has been by her side through thick and thin. It is obvious how much love and care they share for one another. They share such a special bond.

Kaitlin and Lupin — October 4, 2021

Kaitlin and Lupin

~ Kaitlin and Lupin ~

Earlier this year, Kaitlin adopted British Labrador pup, Lupin. When he’s older, he’ll become Kaitlin’s medical alert service dog, but for now, he’s simply her companion and best friend. 

Kaitlin faces different health issues on a daily basis as a result of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). For Kaitlin, this means her nervous system struggles to regulate blood circulation, heart rate and temperature regulation. This leads to symptoms such as chronic fatigue, dizziness, fainting spells and others.

Due to having POTS, it was suggested that an assistance dog would be helpful to Kaitlin. She began searching for a potential companion right away. After a year of searching, she found Lupin. Once they met, she instantly knew they had a connection. Kaitlin was in love as soon as she saw the small and soft wiggly puppy! 

Each year at Kaitlin’s school, they hold a dance fundraiser for deserving people or organisations. This year, they decided to donate the money to Kaitlin to fund Lupin’s training. Having this support from her community has meant so much to her.

While Lupin is undergoing training, he has already had such a significant impact on Kaitlin. Once fully trained, he will alert her to any symptom flare-ups and help her to a safe place, among other things. For now, however, they’re working on their bond and how they work together.

In August, Kaitlin remembers a weekend when she felt very unwell. She had two fainting spells and didn’t feel well at all. Lupin encouraged her to get up each day. Being met every day with an excited and happy pup always brings a smile to her face. 

No matter what challenges Kaitlin faces, Lupin can always brighten her day. Through his energetic and loving self, he can bring happiness into anyone’s day.

When not training, Lupin loves to play tug and could happily do it for hours. He’ll often bring over toys to Kaitlin when he wants to play. She loves spending time with him and loves how happy he is when playing. 

The bond that Kaitlin and Lupin share is so special, and it will only continue to flourish. In the short amount of time they’ve been together, they’ve already had a positive impact on one another. 

Grace and Chloe — July 14, 2021

Grace and Chloe

~ Grace and Chloe ~

3 years ago, Chloe found her home and best friend, Grace. Since they’ve been together, they have formed a very special bond.  

For as long as she can remember, Grace has always wanted a dog in her life. It was one day, three years ago, that she found Chloe. Chloe was the smallest Labrador pup of her litter. It was love at first sight. Grace fell in love with Chloe’s gorgeous face and lovely personality.  

Having Chloe has helped Grace immensely. Unfortunately, Grace has struggled with her mental health. Between hospital admissions, Chloe was Grace’s rock. No matter what happened, Chloe provided Grace with hope and unconditional love. Despite her struggles, Chloe has always been a source of happiness for Grace. 

One of their favourite activities to do together is learning new tricks. Dog training has become one of Grace’s passions. She loves to teach Chloe new tricks and Chloe always enjoys their time together – and the occasional treat, of course! They have learnt a lot together and are eager to continue learning.  

Grace is keen to teach Chloe as many tricks as she can to compete. So far, Chloe knows a wide range of different tricks, such as a handstand, dancing, putting her own toys away, holding objects, and many, many more! This is something both Grace and Chloe enjoy doing together. It’s always fun and they are able to spend quality time together.  

The bond between Grace and Chloe is a truly special one. It is obvious how much Chloe means to Grace, and how much Grace means to Chloe. They have so much love for one another. They support and bring happiness to each other’s lives.

Jenifer and Bella — July 7, 2021

Jenifer and Bella

~ Jenifer and Bella ~

Over ten years ago, Jenifer welcomed chocolate Labrador pup, Bella, into her home. Since then, they have formed a very strong and special bond. 

In 2011, Jenifer was given a box with a red bow. When she opened it, an excited puppy greeted her! She named the puppy Bella. For both Jenifer and Bella, it was love at first sight.  

Having Bella has given Jenifer a lot more freedom and happiness. Jenifer loves being outdoors. She and Bella love going hiking through the woods together. They find many different adventures to go on together. Finding new routes, small animals such as frogs, and more. Their time together is something they both treasure.  

Ever since day one, Bella has had a lot of love to give. If Jenifer is feeling upset or stressed, Bella is always there to support and comfort her. No matter what, she is always there for her human. Every day, Bella is Jenifer’s alarm clock and encourages her to go out for her daily walks.  

Since joining Jenifer’s family, despite being fairly quiet, Bella is always looking out for her humans. She has even been dubbed their ‘nanny-dog’. No matter what, Bella is right there. Sometimes when they are out swimming, Bella may get concerned and, at times, has even jumped in to try save her humans. If Jenifer gets too close to the fireplace, Bella barks a warning to her. Even at night, when coyote howls can be heard, Bella replies to ensure her family’s safety.  

When Jenifer’s grandfather was dying, Bella helped support them through this. They would visit him in the hospital, often bringing smiles to all they passed. It not only helped her grandfather, but it helped all the patients and staff to see a friendly and tail-wagging dog walking the halls.  

Not only has Bella helped Jenifer, but she was also an inspiration for her first book, UnmaskedUnmasked shares the story of Gary, a raccoon, and his friend Jenny, a rabbit, and the bizarre events that have been happening around their forest and the humans who live just beyond the fence. This was greatly inspired by Jenifer’s life on the farm and, of course, Bella.  

The impact that Bella has had on Jenifer is amazing. Over the last decade, Bella has become a big part of her life. There is seldom a family photo without Bella making an appearance. Their bond is truly special, as can be seen in the love and care they have for one another.