Dogs at play: A Kapiti home from home for golden retrievers (and the odd lab)

ROSS GIBLIN/Dominion Post

Lynnaire Stock and Kristina Martinelli own Goldies Te Horo, a breed-specific golden retriever homestay on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington, that allows the dogs to chill with their own kind.

They might just be man's better best friend - a breed of dog renowned for intelligence, kindness and eagerness to please.

But where can the good guys of the canine world - golden retrievers - go to relax?

A business on the Kapiti Coast has the answer. Lynnaire Stock and Kristina Martinelli run a holiday home for goldies only.

Kristina Martinelli of Goldies Te Horo with a pack of her golden friends.
Ross Giblin/Fairfax NZ

Kristina Martinelli of Goldies Te Horo with a pack of her golden friends.

Since 2008, they have run Goldies Te Horo, which offers a breed-specific homestay for golden retrievers, which they say are simply more comfortable with their own kind.

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Martinelli said golden retrievers were an "absolutely fantastic breed of dog" - they were sensitive, gentle, and enjoyed interacting with their own breed.

Golden retrievers, on the same frequency, relaxing outdoors.
Ross Giblin/Fairfax NZ

Golden retrievers, on the same frequency, relaxing outdoors.

"In fact often we'll have owners saying to us that they were down walking at the beach and the goldie will often ignore other dogs, but if it sees another goldie on the beach it's straight up to introduce itself and play."

When they had tried introducing other breeds at Goldies they found the "dynamic" changed substantially.

"Because they're all very similar in their looks, and their nature, their personality: there's no misunderstanding of any signals."

Friendly play amongst goldies.
Ross Giblin/Fairfax NZ

Friendly play amongst goldies.

On Wednesday they took out 14 golden retrievers, plus a couple of labradors tolerated by the pack, for a run in the field on their property - something the dogs loved.

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Martinelli said they had initially worried about remembering the names of all the dogs staying at Goldies at any one time - given their physical similarities.

"It actually doesn't take long to be honest, even though they're all goldies they do all have their own personalities."

Our better best friend, the golden retriever?
Ross Giblin/Fairfax NZ

Our better best friend, the golden retriever?

She said people were often surprised to find there was a single-breed kennel - but golden retrievers were popular enough to support their business.

Over Christmas and school holidays they reach their maximum retriever level of about 25 dogs, Martinelli said.

Apart from the occasional labrador, they turn down requests to bring in other breeds.

Kristina Martinelli running with the retrievers at Goldies.
Ross Giblin/Fairfax NZ

Kristina Martinelli running with the retrievers at Goldies.

"We have tried in the past to have the odd other breed here, but it just changed it hugely.

"They just love the cuddles, the play, and because they can all see each other, they just like the interaction of the other dogs as well... they're great dogs to work with."

Sensitive, gentle and friendly - the golden retriever.
Ross Giblin

Sensitive, gentle and friendly - the golden retriever.

 - Stuff

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