A much-needed home for Nero

Last updated 05:00 28/02/2015

LAID BACK: Nero will never replace the dogs we've lost, but he doesn't need to. We love his playful, relaxed nature.

Giving an animal in need new life

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CUTIE: Who knows what he's crossed with, but that's the joy of a rescue dog.

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The last time I contributed to a Stuff assignment was for pet of the day - our beloved German shepherd, Ari.

When I wrote this piece we knew that Ari wouldn't be with us for much longer - she was 13, which is pretty darn ancient for a shepherd. She passed away on January 30, leaving a huge gap in our lives.

We knew from previous experience that when you lose a pet, it's best to get another right away. You're not trying to replace the one you've lost, but if furbabies are a big part of your family then the house is suddenly very empty and quiet without one.

Ari was our second German shepherd, purchased through a breeder. This time, we decided we'd give a puppy in a need a good home, and Second Chance Dog Rescue in Christchurch helped us fill the gaping hole in our home with Nero, a 14-week-old German shepherd-cross.

What Nero is crossed with is uncertain. The dog rescue people think it's staffie, and he does have a lovely, placid, staffie-like nature. Physically however, there looks to be a variety of options - labrador, huntaway, maybe even some rottweiler? Take a look at the photos, and give us your best guess.

Whatever he's crossed with, he's acquired a nickname very early on, just as Ari was quickly dubbed "the Chicky" after only a few days. Nero's been with us for nearly 3 weeks, and has taken on the moniker of "the funky monkey" or "Flunky" for short. He has the most adorable nature; used as we are to very full-on German shepherd pups, Nero is a much easier ball of fur. He loves cuddles as much as he loves to play and wrestle, he eats anything put in front of him and he sleeps happily in his crate at night without fussing.

We're looking forward to him getting his final vaccinations so we can take him out into the world. Meanwhile, he's exploring the world of his new home with enthusiasm, plenty of energy and a fondness for Dad's motorcycle boots.

Every morning when I wake up and get him out of his crate and see that happy, smiling face looking back at me, I'm newly grateful that we decided to rescue a puppy rather than purchase one from a breeder. When it's time for a snooze and he snuggles down with his nose tucked into the crook of my arm, I'm reminded of how rewarding it is to be able to give such a gorgeous creature a much-needed good home.

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We still miss Ari, just as we still miss her predecessor. We always will. You never forget the ones who have come before. But now we also look forward to years of fun and love with our new furbaby, knowing that he deserves a good and loving home as much as his pedigree predecessors did.

If you're considering adopting a pet from a rescue, I can't recommend it enough, and it is here I thank Second Chance Dog Rescue once again for introducing this funky little monkey into our lives.


* Saved from a rubbish bin death

* An unloved gentle giant

* Saved from being shot

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