SPCA New Zealand

Overcoming the odds: Pickle's journey

26 June 2023

Overcoming tremendous odds, Pickle has undergone an incredible transformation. We share Pickle’s story and the ongoing search for a loving forever home, in the hopes that she might find her perfect match.

Overcoming the odds: Pickle's journey

The rescue

When our team first met Pickle, her tiny body was covered in painful sores, her raw skin was visible where her coat should have been - and the fear radiating off this poor girl was palpable.

Found roaming all alone, lost and in pain with awful mange, Pickle was picked up by a member of the public and taken to a nearby after-hours vet clinic. With her mange so severe, the vets contacted our Hamilton Centre and we came to collect her.

Ngaire, Senior Animal Attendant at SPCA Hamilton recalls how shocking it was to see her condition.

“Her little face had so many sores on it… we weren’t even able to work out the colour of her fur at first, seeing as there was hardly any left on her body,” Ngaire said.

Pickle had severe mange when she first came into our care.
Pickle had severe mange when she first came into our care.

While our teams have the rewarding job of being there for animals throughout their recovery and finding their forever homes, working at SPCA often means being faced with the most shocking cases of animal neglect. It can be a confronting and truly difficult task, but we are lucky to have amazing people on board to face these challenges.

Ngaire told us how hard it was in the early stages for poor Pickle. “She was so sore and uncomfortable, and she was nervous when meeting new people. She’d do little growls and back away.”

Pickle had regular visits to CareVets Horsham Downs.
Pickle had regular visits to CareVets Horsham Downs.


After consulting with our vets as well as the amazing team at CareVets Horsham Downs, it was determined that the best treatment for the mange would include daily medicated baths, as well as topical creams. Team member Siobhan said it was tough getting Pickle to trust them initially.

“Since we didn’t have a proper bath to use, we used a big plastic storage container. At first we needed to work out ways to distract her, like putting it out in the sunshine,” she said. “Initially Pickle was worried, but then she figured out that while being in the bath, her skin felt better.”

“She slowly started to bond with us through the love we gave her… and once she knew us, she became comfortable with us there. She’d also be happy to stay in the bath if we included lots of hugs.”

It was heartwarming to know that despite everything this wee girl had been through, Pickle was still comforted and calmed by the loving care of our team. Whenever spending time with her, we’d hold Pickle close, and it was clear that she just desperately wanted to be loved.

Pickle had regular medicated baths to treat the mange.
Pickle had regular medicated baths to treat the mange.

Foster heros

While she was receiving plenty of that love at the Centre, we knew the best way to build her confidence and assist her recovery would be to get her into foster care. One of Pickle’s fosterers was Sophie, who met the pup while working a volunteer shift at the Centre.

“It was not hard to fall in love with her, and she blossomed straight away at home,” Sophie said. Pickle got on well with our younger cat (my foster fail), learnt quickly our other grumpy cat was to be left alone, and that snuggling up with us on the couch was the best spot.”

She would alternate between foster care, and time in the Centre receiving much-needed treatment. But with this crucial time in foster, Pickle was able to experience a loving home environment - something that we so deeply wish for her to find permanently.

Pickle’s other fosterer is Emily, who continues to care for her while we search for her forever home. Emily’s own dog Ralph played a big part in getting the wee girl to come out of her shell.

“Ralph has a special skill in helping scaredy-pups see that the world is actually great fun!” Emily said. “He shows her the ropes, keeps her company and plays with her in the mud. While Pickle still has some apprehension about new things, she has gained so much confidence and trust.”

Pickle spent time in loving foster care.
Pickle spent time in loving foster care.

A new beginning

With Pickle’s mange well on the mend, our Centre team did whatever they could to ensure her recovery stayed on track. Siobhan told us that included some out-of-the-ordinary shopping, due to Pickle’s scratching.

“We went to K-Mart and actually bought some babysuits to prevent her scratching, and it was also really effective in keeping the medicated cream on her skin.”

Day by day, we’ve been able to witness Pickle’s slow but steady transformation. Despite the pain she was in, this brave pup has fought through the challenges and stolen the hearts of countless SPCA team members and volunteers while doing so.

It’s been wonderful for our team to see these changes, as a result of their dedicated work. As Pickle’s fur began to grow back, Siobhan said she started to look like a completely different dog to the one they met on the very first day.

“We had no idea that she would have the beautiful black-lined eyes, soft brown ears, and all her gorgeous spots,” Siobhan said.

It’s been a culmination of many months of hard work and dedication, but Pickle is now happy, healthy – and ready to be adopted.

Like all of the animals in our care who are waiting for their forever homes, Pickle deserves to find her humans that will show her what it truly means to be loved. If you think you could be the one to provide Pickle with the home she’s been so desperately waiting for, please visit her profile and register to adopt her today.

We want to say a very special thank you to every single person who has cared for Pickle over the past months. These sorts of transformations don’t happen overnight, and they don’t happen easily. But as Siobhan from our Centre has told us: “Nurture is the most powerful remedy.”

Pickle is waiting for her forever home.
Pickle is waiting for her forever home.
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