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Last delivery for Boris

Last updated 08:33 21/02/2013
Gary Retigen and dogs
Caryn Wigmore

NEWS HOUNDS: Breeder Gary Regtien and his Siberian huskies Velvet and pup Bro, left, deliver the Nor-west News in Riverhead.

EARLY DAYS: The late Boris as a pup.

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Boris the celebrity news hound is dead.

The star Siberian husky Boris helped deliver his last Nor-west News in Riverhead before he died just one month shy of 15 years - the average life expectancy of a husky. Breeder Gary Regtien is mourning the death of his cherished "paper boy" who helped on his weekly round.

The stunning husky was one of three attached to a lead clipped to Mr Regtien's waist.

"I always run faster when the boys are pulling me along," the Riverhead resident says.

The surviving two dogs Velvet and Bro are also feeling the loss.

On delivery day they howl for Boris - the self-appointed leader of the pack who started life as the runt of the litter.

"He was a small dog but he had a powerful personality," Mr Regtien says.

"He was real fun; very tough and fearless."

Boris rose to celebrity status after appearing with Mike Hosking and Susan Wood on a television breakfast programme. The programme focused on Mr Regtien's entry in the Rotorua Marathon 15 years ago. Boris, still too young to run, was carried by his owner during training sessions.

Mr Regtien, an ultra-distance runner, keeps his dogs fit by training them in Riverhead and Woodhill Forests, attached to a bungy cord around his waist.

"They're quite capable of racing me off my feet," the 77-year-old says.

"After a mile they tend to settle and we can establish a good rhythm."

Mr Regtien sets his own impressive pace. He won the world record for the best road distance in 24 hours in 1982 - running 255km around Lake Pupuke.

The longtime breeder admires huskies for their endurance. "I coach people who run for 100km. Because of that, I was fascinated by how it was possible for these dogs to run so long sometimes without water or food."

Mr Regtien and his huskies were employed to place huge posts at Muriwai Beach guiding people on long distance beach walks.

"They couldn't use a four-wheel drive because the sand is too soft."

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