Life lessons from animals
Every single SPCA animal that comes into our care has their own special story. We love to learn about them and their lives, helping them on their way.
Our animals' stories can teach us important life lessons and sometimes we need to be reminded of these, so that we too as humans can live a happy and healthy life. Here are some of our favourite life lessons from our animal friends.
Make the most of every day
Abi Donovan is a serial SPCA kitten foster mum. Since October 2018, she has fostered 26 cats, Queens (mother cats), kittens and even Tomcats. She even fostered a special cat called Lil Bub for three months!
She and her partner Ian are always delighted to welcome new animals to their home, especially when the animals are shy or nervous about being around people.
“We foster each animal for about two to eight weeks, and it’s amazing to see them grow in confidence as they get used to a home environment.”
It’s not unusual for Abi and Ian to be woken up by a friendly kitten at 5.45am, as the tiny felines arealready eager to start the day. Daytime activities include feeding, eating, sleeping, exploring, playing with toys, adventuring, being weighed, and learning how to use a litter tray. Sometimes Abi finds them on tables or high spots, or even hidden in the shoe rack!
After making the most of every moment of their day, a kitten will often fall into a heap with their littermates in a snoozing pile, or sometimes they are found hidden in random places having a kip.
“As they grow, it’s amazing to see how confident they become, and it’s not unusual for them to race to the door to greet our friends and guests. They bring us such joy while reminding us to make the most of every day,” says Abi.
Having three legs won't slow you down one bit!
SPCA Ambassador Jono Lester has a need for speed – he’s a professional race-car driver! So when his beloved cat Po passed away, he knew he wanted to give a special animal the second chance it deserved.
It was love at first sight when he saw Spud, the three-legged cat at SPCA’s Auckland centre when he visited for a meeting. Spud had been found at a school a month earlier, but he had to have his left hind leg amputated because of an old injury. It took him a little while to get the hang of walking on three legs, but he soon made excellent progress and was walking comfortably.
As soon as he met him, Jono knew he and Spud would be great buddies. After all the paperwork was complete, Spud was soon on his way to his new forever home with Jono.
The two have been hanging out ever since, and Jono says that Spud was “immediately at home and is loving all the space he has to run around in. I definitely made the right choice there!”
Another three legged animal who loves to live life at high speed is Lettie the ‘tripod pup’. Lettie lost her leg after she fell off a chair and suffered a carpal hyperextension in her front left leg, resulting in it being amputated. Her mum Jade works at SPCA, and Lettie often comes into the New Lynn office with her. Lettie can be seen racing around and making friends with everyone she meets.
Full of personality, Jade and partner Blake give Lettie everything she needs and more – including her very own lifejacket when she goes for a swim! When Lettie was a four-legged dog, she used to love swimming, but because of her three legs, she could drown without one. Lettie’s Instagram account has more than six thousand followers (lettie.rednose), who can see her running around proudly in her new red lifejacket, letting nothing stop her from living her #bestlife.
Everyone deserves a second chance
Jimi the Jack terrier cross was known to everyone at SPCA’s Auckland centre, as he first appeared at the centre in 2011 and had come and gone over the years. Jimi had spent a while at foster, and had a few health issues. In 2019 he was finally adopted by his loving forever family, but unfortunately he had to come back to the centre because his new owner had health issues herself.
Everyone knew that Jimi deserved a second chance, and it was only when he was finally adopted again by a couple who knew he was the dog for them. His new dad Murray says Jimi is loving his new life, particularly going for walks around his new neighbourhood. He says that Jimi has settled in beautifully, and he is “always close by, especially when we are near the kitchen!”
While Jimi has slight arthritis, this is managed with medication, his health not stopping him from having a full and happy life. As he’s prone to feeling the cold, he wears a coat when out walking. His dad encourages people who are thinking of adopting to consider an older animal, as “they are very faithful, and not as active as a younger pet.”
There's always hope around the corner
Sadly, abandoned animals end up at our door with no home and no hope. But they almost always defy the odds and find their happy ever after. They remind us not to give up hope!
Despite abandoning an animal being an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says many animals arrive at SPCA centres after being dumped by their families.
“It’s awful for the animal of course, but it’s also awful that people see abandoning an animal as the only option available for them,” Ms Midgen says.
Three-week old puppy Hunter was abandoned on the side of the road after his mother was hit by a car. He was found by SPCA Whakatane manager Sue Whitwell, who took him straight to the centre.
“Hunter was a true infant, he was far too young to come of his mum,” said Sue.
After taking Hunter into the Whakatane Veterinary Health Centre, he instantly caught the attention of vet technician, Pippa Moon. Sue asked Pippa to foster him for eight weeks, as he would be more settled in one place. Because Pippa already had dogs, Hunter would grow up with the good influence of older dogs around him, teaching him dog behaviour and manners.
“Hunter had the best of everything; the best food, Pippa is the most awesome foster mother!” said Sue.
After being brought into the clinic, Pippa says Hunter was very young and weighed around 80 grams.
“I took on fostering him for the next nine weeks, then we adopted him out into his new home.”
Although Pippa’s family were keen to keep Hunter, when they took him on she made it clear they were going to find him his own family.
“I knew there would be a special home for him out there.”
Hunter, who is a pig dog crossed with a heading dog, has been adopted by Pippa’s parents’ friends who were looking for a puppy.
“It was hard to see him go, but knowing I could still see him has made it that much easier,” says Pippa.
“I want to encourage people to foster these little puppies because they are too little to stay in the centre; they do need love, care and a home and interaction with other dogs for socialising, it’s really important.”
Hunter’s story reminds us that there are always good people out there who are willing to help out, and that hope is always around the corner.