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 loves the task of putting this monthly feature together. He and wife Michelle have two dogs of their own. This month he talks with Sharon Christie, one of the dedicated team at DogHQ about her own pooches – Jazzy and Zoe.
AIDAN BENNETT: How long have you been at DogHQ and what to you do there?
SHARON CHRISTIE: It will be 6 years in July. My job is a dog supervisor which means I supervise dogs in my group, monitor play, give cuddles and clean up any mess!
AB: What made you choose a job looking after our 4-legged friends?
SC: At high school I decided that I wanted to work with animals but wasn’t sure exactly in what capacity. I worked at Forrest Hill Veterinary Clinic in a behind the scenes role as kennel girl and then vet nurse aide but wanted more people interaction. After doing a couple of customer service/admin roles that didn’t involve animals – I realised I needed to be back working with animals and saw the job at DogHQ and applied immediately.
AB: What is the most rewarding part of the job?
SC: Forming a bond with the dogs and seeing their happy faces when they arrive. (The hardest part of the job is when it’s a dog’s last day and we have to say goodbye!).
AB: You have two dogs of your own, tell us about them.
SC: My husband and I each have a dog. Jazzy is mine - she’s a toy poodle who’s 12 ½ years old although most people still think she’s young as she still looks and acts like a puppy! Zoe is my husband’s – she’s a mini schnauzer X toy poodle (Schnoodle) who’s seven years old.
AB: What made you decide to get those breeds?
SC: We decided on a toy poodle as I had looked after one and loved the look, size and nature/personality of him. We only had Jazzy at first until she was two years old as she came to work with me at Forrest Hill Veterinary Clinic but when I left there to go to an office job we realised we needed a friend for Jazzy – we looked at the SPCA but back then there weren’t many toy/small breed dogs that would be a good companion for Jazzy so we went back to the breeder where we got Jazzy from and she said she was retiring one of her dogs who was Jazzy’s aunty called Sandy who was six years so that worked out well! Unfortunately Sandy passed away a few years later so when we were ready for another companion for Jazzy we thought we’d get a rescue but we weren’t sure exactly what breed just that we wanted another toy/small breed. We came across Zoe and fell in love instantly.
AB: Do you have any other pets?
SC: We don’t currently have any other pets. But both have had cats and Ben’s parents' used to breed German Shepherds when Ben was a child.
AB: What do you love about your dogs?
SC: I love Jazzy’s intelligence – she knows each of her toys by name (she has a lot of toys). I also love that she is independent – she’s quite happy sitting on her cushion chewing on a toy. I love Zoe’s excitement – we call her our wild child because she’s crazy from the time she is awake in the morning to the time she goes to sleep at night.
AB: Do they have any bad habits?
SC: Zoe’s bad habit is stealing socks – if we don’t put the clean washing away – she will stick her head in the basket and pull out a pair and prance around with it. Jazzy’s bad habit – is her ball obsession – as soon as she wakes up in the morning – she’ll give you a ball to throw – she does at least bring it back every time you throw it but it’s not really a game you want to start at 5:30am!!!!
AB: What are your favourite things to do with your dogs?
SC: In the summertime – love playing ball games in our inflatable pool (both of them like swimming). We also love going to a group Schnauzer walk once a month (Schnauzer New Zealand) Outside of that just going on walks and cuddles on the couch.
AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
SC: If you’re getting a pure bred – make sure you research the breed so you know what you’re getting yourself in for eg. if they’re talkative, need regular grooming, herding dogs. If you’re getting a rescue – be prepared to work with your dog as you don’t know their background and don’t know what their behaviour will be or what size they’ll grow to. Also treat them any dog like family but make sure they have boundaries/behaviour even if their toy breeds! And lastly habits are quick to make but hard to stop – something that’s cute as a puppy isn’t necessarily a behaviour you want as an adult dog.