dopting a pet instead of ‘shopping’ for one is a social responsibility, a rescue dog advocate says. ‘‘When we adopted our dog Lou, he was emaciated and the size of a six-week-old puppy when he was actually six months old,’’ says Zoe Neave, a dog adoption advocate. ‘‘He couldn’t sit down properly and I remember asking the team at the pound if there was something wrong with him. But he was just so happy to see a loving face that he didn’t stop wagging his tail.
‘‘Lou repaid us by coming first at puppy school, and six years on he’s the most tolerant, gentle, kind and loving big brother to his two non-fur siblings.’’
Lou is just one example of how dog adoption doesn’t just save a dog, it creates a family. But he’s also very lucky to have found a loving home. In 2016, 8,372 dogs were impounded in Auckland’s animal shelters. Most were reclaimed by their owners and 644 were adopted, but 3,059 dogs that were not suitable for rehoming because they were too sick or injured, failed a temperament test, were a menacing dog breed, or were simply too dangerous had to be euthanized.
The stats speak a similar story further south. In Tauranga during the 2015/16 year, 960 dogs were impounded, 764 were returned to their owners, 62 were adopted by new families, and 134 were euthanized. ’’We simply have too many dogs in New Zealand,’’ says Auckland councillor Cathy Casey. ‘‘Buying puppies from pet shops encourages more breeding that we just don’t need. It doesn’t help the cause when dog owners don’t desex their dogs either, often resulting in thousands of unwanted puppies.’’
The solution to New Zealand’s dog overpopulation isn’t a quick fix, but there are some things dog owners can do to do their bit.
‘‘Dog adoption is the perfect way to add a canine friend to your family without adding to our dog problem,’’ Casey says. ‘‘There are hundreds of gorgeous dogs of all shapes, sizes, colours, breeds, ages and temperaments in animal shelters all over the country that
Agnes (Aggie) and Lou Orme-Gee-Neave relaxing with Lou the dog.