The October FEDSNEWS showcased the work that Natalie Smith and the Retired Working Dogs charity have been doing to help man’s best friend find loving homes. Now we’re introducing Helen and Hoon, the formidable pair who help sell the charity’s calendars.
Helen Sheard is one of the vets at the Fielding branch of Totally Vets. Natalie worked at the Pahiatua branch, and after meeting Helen at a Christmas do they realized they had a shared affinity for working dogs.
When Helen was on maternity leave in 2015 she got involved and is now a trustee of the charity.
Hoon is one of three working dogs that Helen has adopted from the different locations she’s worked as a vet.
“He was brought into the vets at six weeks old to be put down because he had wonky back legs. He was in a big litter of pups, and they didn’t think he’d make it,” Helen says.
“Now he’s about 8 years old and loves to make lots of noise around the two-acre property we live on. I think if he’d become a working dog, he would’ve been really talented.”
The few sheep Helen and her partner Hayden own on their property are really friendly so they don’t need a working dog, but Hoon still loves to get out and about to stretch his legs when he’s not busy modelling for the charity’s calendar.
Helen stepped in to help with last year’s calendar and has continued with it this year.
“It’s been a bit tricky with lockdown and COVID restrictions, especially trying to get professional photos done, but a lot of owners have helped out by supplying some beautiful shots,” Helen says.
The calendar is their biggest fundraiser and comes at a time when they really need it.
“We have lots of dogs to find homes for after winter because not as many people adopt around that time.
“The money mostly goes towards any vet bills as that’s one of our biggest expenses.”
- Catch Hoon as Mr. April in the 2022 calendar if you can’t adopt a dog right now, need a great Christmas present or just want to help support this great initiative. Calendars can be ordered on the charity’s website: https://retiredworkingdogs.org.nz/