• Agnes Zhang and Benedict – he loves swimming!

Agnes & Benedict, the Labrador

MY DOG & ME: Agnes Zhang & Benedict, the Labrador

In association with our good friends at DogHQ each month we meet Shore people whose four-legged family members add a great deal of joy to their lives. Our very own dog-lover Aidan Bennett (he has two doggies of his own he spoils – Olive a Cocker Spaniel and Maisie a French Bulldog) loves the task of putting this monthly feature together. This month he talks with Agnes Zhang of Totara Vale about Benedict, her much-loved Lab who loves going to Dog HQ.

AIDAN BENNETT: How long has Benedict been part of your life?
 Almost three years. He will be having his third birthday in August this year. We brought him home from Tauranga when he was eight weeks old. It was love at first sight (that's maybe a lie because he was the last one).

AB: What made you decide to get a Lab?
We were actually thinking about getting a bull terrier (Benedict must not know this). But we didn't find one. Labrador was our second choice. We both love the movie ‘Quill'.  It's a story about a guide dog. At the time we thought Labradors are calm, gentle and relaxed. Little did we know… the movie lies. Benedict is full of energy and a very naughty boy. We still love him though.

AB: Is he your first dog, if not tell us about your other dogs?
 No, he is not my partner (Daisy’s) first dog. Daisy is a dog lover. Growing up she will always have dogs around. Before she always had small dogs, like Bichon and Maltese. They are very cute and snuggly. But Benedict is her first big dog and my very first dog.

AB: Do you have any other pets?
 No, we don't.

AB: What do you love about Benedict?
Where do we begin? He is very energized and loves people. When we come home, you can tell his excitement by the way he wiggles at us.  When we eat, he will drool all over the tablecloth. When he sleeps, he can snore louder than thunder. He recognizes himself as part of the family and he is our baby. There are so much more than I can describe. All the joys he has brought to us is priceless.

AB: Does he have any bad habits?
Yes. He chews on our slippers every day. Benedict loves a ride along with us in the car, but he will make a bird-like high pitch noise the entire ride, which can be quite annoying. Jumping can be a problem sometimes but only because he wants to play.

AB: What are his favorite things to do?
Well... eating, he's a Lab after all. At home, he enjoys playing 'tug of war' with me, I win most of the time. When we go outside, swimming is definitely his number one sport.

AB: How long has he been going to DogHQ and does he love it?
Benedict has been going to DogHQ for almost two years now. He loves hanging out with his friends there. Benedict always looks happy and excited when we tell him we are going to drop him off to DogHQ. He is definitely a social butterfly, can make friends easily. We could also tell it from photos they post on Facebook and Instagram.

AB: Does he love the beach and swimming and or other things?
Benedict loves swimming when he sees water everything else will blur out. We take him to the beach almost every weekend in the summer. I can honestly say, we need to buy a house with a pool just for him.

AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
If you already are a dog owner, teach them all the right things with patience. They can be very naughty and sometimes hard to train, but having the right method will do the trick. Violence is not an option. If you wish to become a dog owner, make sure you have enough time for them. They need to be loved and cared for just like a baby. Treat them as your family and take your time with them, they will become your most loyal friends.