Lester Wells and Bruiser became beggars for a day when the big black dog's life was on the line.
Sporting a sign saying: "Please save me from the council death squad", the two staged a one-man-one-dog protest outside the New Plymouth District Council civic centre yesterday.
In front of them sat a beggar's bowl in an attempt to highlight their plight and perhaps raise the $117 dog registration Mr Wells could not afford.
He said they took their plight to the streets after he was warned by the council that his beloved dog would have to be put down if it wasn't registered.
As an invalid beneficiary who broke his back when working in the fishing industry about 13 years ago, he said there was no way he could afford the money.
Bruiser had been his constant companion after he took him on as a rescue dog and helped him recover from several deep wounds, he said.
But all ended well when Deputy Mayor Heather Dodunski came to the rescue.
Despite being embroiled in the Waitara leasehold land protest at the time Mrs Dodunski asked Mr Wells what the pair were up to.
After hearing their story she disappeared through the council's big glass doors and returned with a red registration tag for Bruiser's collar.
Mrs Dodunski later admitted to the Taranaki Daily News she willingly did the good deed out of her own pocket.
"The dog is very important to him. It would be very sad if you had to lose a dog you love. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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