Tegan, Nikko & Tui

MY DOG(S) & ME: Tegan Gutry, Nikko (Labrador) and Tui (German Shepherd X)

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 Tegan Gutry about her much loved pooches, Nikko and Tui.

AIDAN BENNETT: How long have Nikko and Tui been part of your life?
Nikko has been a part of our lives for three years and Tui who is our newest addition to our little family, has been with us for about three months.

AB: What made you decide to get these breeds?
We had been talking about getting a dog for a while and we started debating on breeds. We decided on a Labrador as our first dog together as we both agreed that they would be a great first dog. We got Nikko from a breeder in Foxton. We didn't want to get ourselves into a position with our first dog, that we had bitten off more than we could chew or that we couldn't give a dog all that it needed, and with Nikko I think we bit off what we could handle. 
Then three years later on we now have Tui, who is a German Shepherd X rescued from the pound. Tui was found roaming the streets in Manukau and was malnourished. We came across Tui on Facebook through one of the animal shelter pages and my partner fell in love looking at the pictures of him. We went to the animal shelter on the Saturday to view him and well next minute we were putting in an application to adopt him. We then also went back to the shelter on the Sunday with Nikko to see if the two of them would get along as Nikko did have an equal say (so to speak) in the next dog.
Safe to say they got on very well and here we are today after all the nail biting waiting to see if our application had been accepted to adopt Tui or not, we now have another beautiful dog.

AB: Are they your first dogs, if not tell us about your other dogs?
Both my partner and I have been brought up around animals, with both our families always having dogs. As a couple, Nikko was our first dog and we can't really remember what our lives were like before we got him and now we wouldn't change a thing since we have both Nikko and Tui in our lives.

AB: What do you love about Nikko and Tui?
Nikko has brought us a lot of love into our life. Ever since he was just a wee puppy has been so happy go lucky, he is our shadow and has been the best first dog. Nikko was and is to this day, a very easy going dog, and we love the fact that he loves everyone! dogs and humans.
Tui has definitely been a little bit of an eye opener for us. We love the fact that Tui is outgoing and cheeky, however he is still young and is going through the phases of 'no ears' and pushing boundaries. He challenges us as dog owners and because of that we are learning new things and how we can help him grow into healthy and happy dog.

AB: Do they have any bad habits?
They both snore like their father… if that counts as a bad habit. For us at the moment, we are working on ironing out some issues with Tui such as pulling on the lead, how to greet other dogs and not get overexcited as sometimes it can come across as him being aggressive, teaching him how to play with toys and fetch, as well as his recall which Im sure like other dog owners with young adolescent dogs is a slow process.

AB: What are their favourite things to do?
Sleep, eat and play, they love chasing each other, Nikko loves it when Tui chases him. They both love going on walks, especially when my partner and I take them out for big adventure walks, they just love all the smells and getting out of the city like their parents.

AB: How long have they been going to DogHQ and does he love it?
We sent Nikko to DogHQ as soon as we could when he was a puppy for about a year and half, and to this day we believe it helped shape him into the beautiful dog he is today. However our circumstances changed after that and we stopped. However now, as I currently work at DogHQ part time, I take both my boys to work with me a couple a days a week and they love it!

AB: Do they love the beach and swimming?
Nikko absolutely LOVES the beach and just water in general. When we take Nikko to the beach he is straight into the water and will just trot along in the water like a show pony. Any chance he can get to get into water he will be in there. However with Tui we are working on his confidence with the water as the sound of the waves crashing is a little bit scary for him at the moment but we walk in the water with him and encourage him along the way.
It is hard with a rescue dog as some of them have hard beginnings in their lives so you need to be patience and nurture them. Essentially with Tui we dont know the full background so we are learning each day with him as is he and we just have to do our best with him and give him the best life possible going forward to make up for the misfortune he had before we got him.

AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
For prospective dog owners, please think about it long and hard before getting a dog. Owning a dog is not a walk-in park at all, you are responsible for their welfare and you need to venture in knowing that a dog will not only cost you money but a lot of your time as well. It's really so sad to see how many dogs or animals in general, who end up in the pound or shelters.
Look at your own circumstances and do your research first, understand that your lives will never be the same again but for the better. You may lose some material items such as mobile phones (I did with Nikko) and that your nice couch won’t stay nice for too long with your new addition to your family but at the end of the day, material items don’t enrich your life or give you memories to look back on like animals do. Please look at rescue dogs not just solely breeders, and don’t turn away older dogs, give them a good thought too. Be patient with yourself and your dog, I don’t believe anyone is a dog whisperer but whether you are getting your first dog or another dog, know that what you put into your dog you will get back tenfold. Dogs don’t live nearly as long as they should do so enjoy them and love them as much as you can.