12 Feb 2016

Hopes of puppy love at first sight

7:01 pm on 12 February 2016

Just a little bit of puppy love could end up saving a life...

That's what the Auckland Council's hoping for, hosting a version of speed dating - for dogs that need a home - at Victoria Park today.

People had the chance to walk, pat and play with 45 dogs from the council's three animal shelters.

Kaiya Irvine was sitting with Valentino, a staffy cross. "I just have cats at the moment. I'd love to get a dog but I can't at the moment so this is a really good outlet for me, just to come down, get some doggy cuddles and see what else is out there on offer for when I do get a dog," she said.

"I'd always get a rescue dog, I think they're the best sort of dog."

Liz Tibbutt was with Doug, a toy poodle. "We lost our dog in November, so just before Christmas, so I'm just kind of getting some doggy love. Just whipped out of work for a bit of doggy love."

Another participant, Andre De Wet, was down on his lunch break on the look-out for a dog to adopt.

"I'm after more the snub nosed dogs like Boston Terrier or French Bulldog ones. There's a little dog called Doug that's a toy poodle over there that's sort of catching my fancy so I'm hoping to get a walk with her and see how she feels about me. So just exploring and hoping there's something here for me."

Auckland Council animal management manager Tracey Moore

Auckland Council animal management manager Tracey Moore holds a new friend. Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

While none of the dogs could be taken home on the day, Mr De Wet said he was all for getting a dog from the shelter.

"Yeah, rather than the pure breeds. I mean it's a trade off because on the one hand you want to rescue a dog but if you really want to go for a specific breed you narrow down the selection. But, I suppose, why pay for a very expensive full breed if you can rescue a dog? Makes a lot of sense."

Last year 9300 dogs were rescued and put in Auckland Council shelters, but 3961 ended up being put down.

The event was aimed at increasing adoptions and ensuring dogs went to good homes.

"Our shelters rescue dogs of all breeds, shapes, sizes and ages, so Aucklanders can come down and check them out before making any kind of commitment," councillor and dog owner Cathy Casey said.

The council's animal management manager, Tracey Moore, said it was important to make sure dogs and their prospective owners were a good match.

As well as bringing dogs and potential owners together, she said, today was a chance to show people they did not have to go to expensive breeders.

"We just want to keep on the radar. People don't generally think of Auckland Council as a place to go and adopt dogs, although we do have a lot of followers on our Facebook page. We just want more people to realise this is a great way of bringing a new forever friend into your home."

After a similar event in November last year, the council received 120 adoption applications for the 25 dogs that were there.

The council said it was confident the dogs at today's event would also be able to find somewhere to call home.

Auckland Council hosted a version of speed dating - for dogs that need a home - at Victoria Park today.

Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

Auckland Council brought 45 dogs from its three animal shelters to the event.

Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

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