Boy's best friend becomes local attraction

PULLING PAPERS: Right, Tobias Blaser, 12, delivering the Western Leader with the help of his dogs Max and Niles
PULLING PAPERS: Right, Tobias Blaser, 12, delivering the Western Leader with the help of his dogs Max and Niles

Three days a week the children of Massey East wait by their windows to catch a glimpse of Max, the newspaper delivery dog.

To kill two birds with one stone, 12-year-old Tobias Blaser came up with a way to make delivering the Western Leader easier and walk his dog at the same time.

Using good old-fashioned Kiwi ingenuity he built a cart for Max, 3 , to carry the papers.

"He's becoming a bit of a celebrity," Tobias says.

"The kids want to come out and pat him. It makes things so much easier. The papers can be pretty heavy, so it makes it quicker too."

Max now has a friend to help carry the load, because Tobias has adopted another dog from the SPCA, after seeing a story about him in the Western Leader.

"His name is Niles, I think one day he could help do the delivery but he needs some more obedience training. We have only had him a few days," he says. "He's probably a bit energetic at the moment, I don't think I could keep up."

Niles spent more than six months in the SPCA Animal Village in Mangere. It began to take its toll on him and he started chasing his tail - a common coping mechanism.

Tobias' mother Pia Wittwer-Blaser says Niles still chases his tail sometimes but they are trying to get him to stop.

"I originally wanted to get an ex-racing greyhound but after seeing Niles in the paper we decided to go and take a look at him and once you do that you're going to take him home," she says.

He's settling in really well, he loves chasing tennis balls and quite often walks around with two of them in his mouth. I was a little bit worried about how he and Max would get on, but they are fine.

"Max is completely comfortable having a new dog in the house," she says.

German shepherd-cross Niles was brought to the SPCA at 4 months old with his brother, who got adopted right away.

"I don't know why it took so long for Niles to get adopted. It's always harder to find a home for an older dog, everyone wants a puppy.

"We got Max from a shelter as well and we don't really know what breeds they are, they are both a good old-fashioned West Auckland mix," she says.

Western Leader