There’s great appeal in a beagle
MOST runners will be wearing shorts and a T-shirt when they cross the start line at Ports of Auckland Round the Bays on March 8.
Brett Hickman will be in a massive beagle suit.
The Ministry of Primary Industries detector technology manager is based at Auckland Airport and will run the 8.4 kilometre course in the suit to create interest in the ministry’s detector dog puppy foster programme.
The bio-security beagle suit, nicknamed ‘‘Max’’, is quite tricky to wear, Hickman reckons.
It is so large and so hot it has an internal fan in the head.
‘‘And I think I might have to go and get slippers that look like paws because with the feet on this costume you pretty much have your legs wide apart.
‘‘No doubt there will be a lot of walking.
‘‘I’m going to try to run he says.
‘‘But the biggest problem is the head because you can’t actually see much – you look out the nose.’’
Ministry workmates will run alongside Hickman and more will be at the finish line, putting on a barbecue while handing out pamphlets on the puppy foster programme.
Puppies are kept at the detector dog breeding centre in the early stages and then go into foster homes for 12 to
,’’ 14 months until they are ready to be trained.
‘‘When they are in the home, they get the socialisation, get used to going out into the public, loud noises and being around kids,’’ Hickman says.
‘‘That is a really important part but we just haven’t got enough people putting up their hands to help.’’
Helping hand: Nine-month-old beagle Darcie is a bit confused as Wendy Thorton introduces him to Max the bio-security beagle – aka Brett Hickman.
In costume: Brett Hickman tries on his Ports of Auckland Round the Bays costume for size.