NZ Lifestyle Block

From the editor


EVERY FEW WEEKS, I visit the local pound and photograph their newest adoptees. I’ve met dozens of wonderful dogs and somehow managed to resist them all.

A couple of times, I’ve helped out by fostering young dogs. Ones that just needed a look at life in a loving dog home, to gain a little confidence, and get some basic training.

Richard and Melanie were sibling pigdog puppies aged about 10 weeks. But within a few days of coming home with me in 2018, Melanie got sick. Tests confirmed she had chronic kidney disease, and the vet team gave her weeks to live, maybe a few months at most.

Richard was adopted by my best friends, and thanks to the kindness of the Waikato District Council pound team, Melanie (Melly) joined our family. She started on a special renal diet that day, and the change was dramatic. Within hours she was a different dog. She gained 500g in the first five days. She went flying past the longest life estimate, doubled her weight in the first year, and didn’t look back.

If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to take your pets for regular (annual) blood tests once they reach about five years old or so. While chronic kidney disease in a puppy is very rare, it’s the most common fatal disease in older cats and dogs. However, you won’t see physical symptoms until the kidneys have lost around 60-70% functional­ity. Blood tests alert you much, much sooner, which means you can start them on a renal diet and other treatments, depending on your pet. Research into renal diets shows they can extend a pet’s lifespan by a long time, a year to 18 months or more if you’re really lucky.

We got super, miraculous lucky. Melly made it (almost to the day) to her third birthday before her kidneys finally gave up.

I’ve loved a lot of pets over the years, but this little pigdog has been the biggest loss. Her stay was short, but I’m grateful

I got to share in every joyful moment.

Nadene Hall, Editor

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 ??  ?? ABOVE: Melanie (left) with one of her ‘sisters,’ Jazz. RIGHT: Melanie coming in for a cuddle after playing.
ABOVE: Melanie (left) with one of her ‘sisters,’ Jazz. RIGHT: Melanie coming in for a cuddle after playing.
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