Waikato Town Helping New Zealand One Dog At A Time

Tuesday 11 September 2018, 2:48PM
By dave worsley

Pirongia, a small town in Waikato, keeps on giving to the community in many different ways.  Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust (ADNZ) is based in Pirongia.

ADNZ provide the opportunity for independence and as normal a life as possible for members of the public who suffer from autism, diabetes, down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and many other neurological and physical disabilities

Breeding and raising dogs that have the physical and temperamental traits necessary to reach the high standard required to become an Assistance Dog isn’t the easiest thing to do.

ADNZ is not just dealing with the breeding, familiarising, and training of these wonderful four pawed friends; there’s also coming up with the $60,000 necessary to enable placing a dog with a member of the public who has a disability. 

Here’s where the Waikato based breeding centre and kennels comes in to the equation. A new litter of pups has recently been born in Pirongia to proud mum Frankie who is one of the Assistance Dogs brood bitches. It is Frankie’s second litter and every litter is given a letter of the alphabet and all the puppies are given a name beginning with that letter - this litter is the J litter. 

Frankie’s previous litter, the W litter, had one pup called Waitomo (named after Waitomo fuel who sponsor ADNZ), and one being Wiggles.  

The W litter were born in December last year and are now out in the public living with volunteer families who not only teaching them manners but also familiarise them to all the environments they might mean once they are trained and working.  

Puppy raisers take a puppy into their hearts and their homes, socialise and familiarising the young dogs in a range of environments and situations of everyday life to prepare the puppies for training.

Once the puppies reach the age of 12 to18 months they are assessed and formerly trained.  The training takes between four to eight months depending on the specific disability/s they will be destined to support. Assistance Dogs are specifically trained for the unique needs and disability of each individual client.

Assistance Dogs breed and raise Labrador retriever, golden retriever and crosses between the two breeds.

Frankie’s guardians (people she lives with when not having puppies), are Julie and Ric Hancox.  Julie is the Founder of ADNZ, breeding manager and the head of client services.  Ric is the Co-Founder and kennel manager, he looks after any ADNZ dogs that have to be kennelled.  

Frankie lives at home with Ric and spends her days either on the farm with him when he is out and about doing what needs to be done or at the ADNZ kennels.

Anybody with a disability can apply for an Assistance dog. There are many families around New Zealand with complex needs who would benefit from and Assistance Dog and are currently on a waiting list.

It all starts in Pirongia with a recent litter of puppies who may not know it at the moment, but soon they could be helping those in need around New Zealand. 

- ADNZ is a registered charitable trust and an internationally accredited organisation which is what gives its dogs the right to public access. ADNZ is accredited with is Assistance Dogs International.