SPCA New Zealand

Our lovely long stays

03 April 2019
Our lovely long stays

Finding a forever home and a loving family can be hard for some of the animals who come into SPCA’s care. These are the stories of some of our long stay animals who we never gave up on.

Roaming around his outside play area, ears up, head slightly cocked, Jimmy is waiting for his new family. He’s hoping they will come soon.

Every time someone walks past he can’t help but snort happily and bound forward towards them. Will they be his new owners?

Every week he watches families leave with their new companion.

Jimmy’s been with SPCA for over a year now. While he really loves his food, the cuddles from SPCA staff, and getting to play with his canine pals, all Jimmy wants is a family to call his own more than anything in the world.

The clock may tick but that is certainly not the case for the animals that come into our care. For animals like Jimmy, there is no time limit.

For us, every animal in our care is special, important, and worth fighting for. Regardless of their age, health, or abilities, they will be accepted and cared for.

As they eagerly wait for their second chance at happiness, we will wait too. We won’t give up on them no matter how long they stay with us.

A different dog

A different dog

Jimmy is one of our special long stay animals, who needed that extra nudge of support and some extra time to find his forever home.

After first arriving at SPCA in February 2017 with no training but plenty of energy, Jimmy was not your traditionally easy family dog.

All he wanted to do was play, with little regard for anything else. This didn’t deter our team in helping him become ready to be someone’s new family member.

After everything he had been through, they believed he deserved a second chance at happiness more than anything

“Over a few months we worked with Jimmy and found him canine friends that could keep up with his bounding energy. He ended up playing with multiple puppies and dogs at one time!” Animal Services Team Lead, Letitia Bullot says.

“We worked on his mouth manners and general training, and the staff who he had a great bond with ended up using his love of balls and toys to train him.”

Despite all the effort from SPCA staff, Jimmy’s hard start to life meant he was wary of new situations. Jimmy needed a specific home that would allow him to thrive.

“After a lot of love and commitment, Jimmy showed off his adorable “puppy side” where he would relax, crave affection, and show off his new skills,” Letitia says.

One day in April 2018, Sam and Demi walked through SPCA’s doors thirty minutes before the centre closed for the day.

That’s the moment that everything changed for Jimmy.

The team were packing up and getting ready to head home for the day, but for them it was worth a shot.

“The staff member on duty thought "why not?” Letitia says.

“The couple ended up staying nearly two hours playing with Jimmy and getting to know him in our meeting area. This couple then would visit again on the weekends to spend more time with Jimmy and allow him to get to know them a bit more.”

Sam and Demi had read Jimmy’s story and wanted to give him the love he deserved.

“What drew us to Jimmy was initially wanting to give him a second chance, knowing he had been there for such a long time broke our hearts. When we met him, it was his big personality that won us over,” Sam says.

“He was so excited! We played ball, he already knew how to sit and give paw, such a smart boy! And after he had finally puffed himself out, he cuddled with us on the couch in the visiting room. We never imagined he would be the kind of dog who loves cuddles, but he definitely does!”

A new life overseas

Sam and Demi were desperate to take him home, but because they were originally from the UK and were planning on moving back home, they didn’t see how it could work out.

“It would cost quite a lot of money to fly Jimmy home with us, as well as putting him through a long flight journey. Demi made it her own personal mission to either find him a home or find a way to bring him home with us,” Sam says.

And so Jimmy waited again.

But Sam and Demi wanted Jimmy in their lives really badly – so much so that they started making arrangements to take him home to the UK with them.

In July 2018, nearly one-and-a-half years – over 500 days – since Jimmy first came to SPCA, he left to go on trial adoption with the couple before they moved back to the UK.

To Sam and Demi, Jimmy was already part of their family. In August 2018, the papers were signed and he was officially adopted.

Now Jimmy is relishing his new life, his new home and his new family across the world in the UK.

“When we first took Jimmy home he was so excited! He ran around smelling everything,” Sam says.

“Within a few days he was so calm, totally house trained and had made himself quite at home. It was like he’d lived there all his life. He made friends with next door’s cat, who often walked around on our porch, again surprising us – can you imagine such a big dog being friends with a small cat? Well, it happened!”

Jimmy loves to play with his favourite toys, run around the yard, excitedly wait at the door for Sam to come home from work, and get extra cuddles with Demi.

“Sam and Demi are stoked to have Jimmy in their lives, and say he’s settled in really well,” Letitia says.

“Jimmy is such a special dog.”

Facing a new challenge

Twitching her ears and wrinkling her nose, Clover would hop around her hutch at SPCA, watching the other rabbits come and go from the rabbitry, cradled in the arms of their loving families.

Losing her mother at only a few weeks old, Clover arrived with her eight siblings at SPCA lost and afraid, and needing round-the-clock care to survive. Swaddled in a blanket, with just the tips of her ears peeking through, she was bottle-fed by our team, slowly growing stronger each day.

“Staff and volunteers stepped up and bottle-fed the babies in intensive care around the clock. It was quite a team effort from all who helped,” SPCA small animal attendant Justine Sommerville says.

After a few months of care and time in foster, Clover and her siblings flourished, growing from tiny and vulnerable babies to strong and healthy rabbits. All of her siblings found their forever homes – everyone except Clover.

Despite already overcoming adversity, Clover had another challenge to face: finding her own family that could handle her attitude. “Clover was a unique and hilarious character and came with a dose of sass and a sprinkle of spunk,” Justine says.

“For that reason, we really needed a rabbit-savvy family who would love her for who she was. She didn’t like to be contained or handled too much, and needed space of her own.”

All Clover wanted was a family who would understand her needs and care for her. All she wanted was a garden and a hutch of her own to hop around in.

She was tired of watching the other rabbits go home to new loving families while she remained. “We used to take her on walks around the garden here at the centre, but she was fed up with being in a shelter environment,” says Justine.

While it took almost a year, Clover is now loving her second chance at happiness in her new home – and even has a new friend to keep her company!

Ollie had recently arrived at SPCA, and he and Clover had been settling in well together at the centre and getting to know each other.

Fortunately, Clover and Ollie were adopted together and are now living in a hutch of their very own, with their own garden to hop around in, and are living a life of love and happiness together in their forever home.

A rough start to life

Tara was living under a popular Wellington bar for over a month before she came into SPCA’s care.

After her owner moved away, she got lost. Still wearing her red heart shaped tag on her collar - the last memory of her former life - Tara was living a frightening life of uncertainty.

Because of her difficult start to life, Tara wasn’t smoochy or cuddly. She needed time and space to allow her to come out of her shell.

Sitting on her special couch in her adoption room bathing in the sun each day, Tara was often overlooked by people who stopped by. Instead their attention drawn to the more social and outgoing cats she shared the room with.

“No one wanted to touch Tara, people wouldn’t pat her and avoided her,” Feline Attendant Tracey Jong says.

Rather than indulging in other pats and attention, Tara had her sights set on something else. Food.

“She was eating all the other cat’s food and gained a lot of weight.”

Watching all the cats get adopted, Tara was soon all alone. Surprisingly, this turned out to be exactly what Tara needed.

“She became a lovely cat once she was alone,” Tracey said.

“I would throw cat biscuits across the room and she would dash after them as part of her exercise. She would slide around into the corners – she loved it.”

One day, over a year since Tara first came to SPCA, Amy walked through the door.

Rather than balking at Tara’s attitude, Amy couldn’t wait to bring her home and make her a part of her family.

“I was instantly drawn to her at SPCA because she was sleeping soundly and she just looked so precious. I just knew I could give her a fabulous life with lots of love and cuddles and well-deserved peace as she got older,” she says.

“I had a pat with Tara and she was friendly, although a little stand-off-ish at first, and that was understandable for a cat that had been getting lots of attention from a lot of strangers for a long time.”

Far from her desolate start living under a Wellington bar, Tara now lives a life of luxury and has since moved with her mum to Blenheim.

“When I got Tara home she adjusted very quickly to her new surroundings and quickly relished the peace and quiet and attention she was given. We quickly became best buds,” Amy said.

“Despite my apprehension Tara took the move to Blenheim all in her stride and settled quickly into her new home. We have been here for two years now and Tara is very much a part of the family and very spoilt.”

Despite once preferring to be the only pet at SPCA, Tara has since made friends with Amy’s partner’s cat and dog!

“Tara enjoys the company of her fur brother Mac the dog and fur brother Batley the cat, although keeps her distance at times as they can be a bit rowdy for her! But she absolutely adores her daddy and she likes to sleep on him in his chair or in bed.”

“We also now have a wee six month old daughter, and while Tara keeps a healthy distance from her, she doesn't mind the odd pat from her or our teenager who adores animals.”

Tara is now spending her golden years either patiently waiting in the kitchen for treats, or relishing her time in the Marlborough sun.

“Tara is a gorgeous cat who still brings us a lot of happiness. It makes us so happy to know that after giving her a chance following a long stint at SPCA, she is now able to live her best life with her wonderful family who love and care for her very much,” Amy said.

For Feline Attendant Tracey, Tara will always be a memorable cat.

“I would always make time for Tara and it was bittersweet seeing her go. She’s fabulous and it isn’t the same without her, but I’m just so glad she’s found a home.”

A new shot at life

Our long stay animals become a huge part of our SPCA staff and volunteer’s lives.

They may have been with us for so long but we could never give up on them.

While it’s hard to say goodbye, we are so grateful to be a part of their journey, watching them flourish in their new life filled with love and happiness.

So much has changed for Jimmy now since we first met him. He’s super excited as he is about to go on his next big adventure.

Wagging his tail with his nose pressed against the glass, he is enjoying his final car ride in New Zealand before he travels across the world with his family to his new home in Wales.

He’s going to spend his first Christmas with his new loving family, playing in the snow, and opening his very own presents.

One the way to the airport, he stops by SPCA, dashing out of the car to say a final goodbye to the SPCA team who took him into their care with open arms.

After over a year of love and cuddles, and hoping for his happy ending, Letitia and her team hug Jimmy one last time.

“We can’t thank his family enough for giving him a new shot at life, it was fair to say Jimmy was close to all our volunteer’s and staff’s hearts.”

And Sam and Demi are so grateful to the SPCA team for bringing Jimmy into their lives.

“We are so happy to have Jimmy in our lives, and we hope that many more families give dogs and other animals like Jimmy, a second chance at a loving home,” Sam says.

“The SPCA do a wonderful job, and we would like to thank everyone at the SPCA who cared for Jimmy and supported us in the months that we visited and finally got to bring our boy home.”

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