Beloved pets unwind at Bunny Lodge

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 10/06/2013
Bunny Lodge
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
PLAY TIME: Bunny Lodge owner Tim Harrison with dogs Podge and Buckley.

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There is Noodles and Fred.

And K9 and Noushka.

Sooty and Flop.

And Biscuit and Flicker.

These are just some of the thousands of Canterbury pets that have holidayed at animal resort Bunny Lodge.

The pet boarding facility is the biggest of its kind in the South Island and owner Tim Harrison said the lodge had experienced a spike in demand of about 50 per cent since the earthquakes.

Last year, Bunny Lodge fielded an unprecedented 47,000 bed nights as displaced Christchurch homeowners handed over their dogs, cats, bunnies, rats, budgies, kunekune pigs, ferrets and chinchillas to be temporarily housed while their own homes were quake-repaired.

Sooty the portly, lop-eared rabbit "with attitude" has called Bunny Lodge home for the past three months.

He is not due to be picked up until July.

"After the quakes a lot of pets came in quite stressed because their owners were stressed, but once they got used to our routine you could see the stress coming out of them," he said.

The daily routine starts at 7am when the pets are fed breakfast. The dogs are released to socialise, run around the paddocks or swim in the pool at least three times a day, while the cats and bunnies have their own enclosed outdoor areas to sun themselves in peace.

The average pet stay is six weeks but some four-legged furry friends are held for up to five months.

There are often tears as owners say goodbye to their beloved pets and Harrison said one owner felt it was "harder to leave her dog than it was dropping the kids off to school for the first time".

One besotted owner rang the lodge every day so her dog could hear her voice, Harrison said.

Bunny Lodge is currently holding 60 dogs, 40 cats, one bunny and one cockatiel.

It has been operating since the early 1960s

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