AUCKLAND was sunny and the welcome was warm for

those who attended the 22nd New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC) Conference.

Themed “The Joyous World of Animals”, the conference attracted people from as far away as Dunedin and from a wide range of animal welfare organisations, businesses and individuals with an interest in companion animals.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown set the tone for the event with his memories of a happy childhood with animals. Conference facilitator Bob Kerridge, helped by hostess Sheila Heeler, emceed the two-day event at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.

Keynote speaker Jonathan Balcombe, an animal activist, scientist and writer from the United States, shared his research and views on the inner lives of animals, showing them to experience a wide range of emotions similar to our own...

A joyous affair

Animal's Voice articles... 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ANIMALS that light up our faces or make our hearts quicken? Is it their cuteness, their ability to make us happy, their absolute faith in us to provide and care for them or is it their innate capacity to love us unconditionally?

Whatever the reason, millions of New Zealanders experience the joy of interacting with animals daily, whether it’s a means of livelihood or for work, play or companionship. For many, their lives revolve around animals and they could not imagine a life without them.

In this busy world, animals hold a firm place in our hearts and lives – be it helping us to heal, learn about life and death, understand responsibility or, most importantly, understand the enjoyment of giving and receiving love.

Fiona Maddison asked New Zealanders from around the country to tell us what they love about animals and what animals bring to their lives...

Animals & Us

Words & Photos: Fiona Maddison
Words & Photos: Fiona Maddison

PETS “welcome”, “okay”, “considered”, or “negotiable”. This is what you see when you go on Trade Me and type in “pets” under property rentals.

But just how many of the thousands of rental properties listed on the site and elsewhere throughout New Zealand are actually “pet friendly”?

According to Andrew King, of the New Zealand Property Investors Federation, there are around 450,000 rental properties in New Zealand. But, he says, there is no information on exactly how many accept pets.

A survey, released in 2011 by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council, showed that 68% of households had at least one pet...

No place like home

Words & Photos: Fiona Maddison

WE CAN MAKE exercising our dogs in our cities and countryside safer while also protecting our wildlife and natural environment.


While on a recent visit to the United kingdom, I was impressed to discover a nation of dog lovers. Dogs are often out and about with their owners – on trains, in buses, in pubs, in shops, on holiday, and even visiting major tourist sites.

Many of these owners would never consider going out without their four-legged canine friend.

While New Zealand may not yet welcome all dogs on trains and buses, inside pubs and shops, we do have some wonderful countryside and public city parks and dedicated spaces where we can take them. It is up to us to use these areas responsibly – to think of others, make sure our wildlife is safe from harassment, protect the environment, and above all keep our dogs safe and happy.

Getting out with your dog is good for you, too. It helps you create a deeper bond with your dog while getting some healthy exercise at the same time.

The following guide and tips will help you find safe ways to enjoy your dog whether in public parks, beaches or visiting the countryside. A good, well- behaved dog is a joy to everyone – so let them see the best in your dog...

The good dog guide

Words & Photos: Fiona Maddison

AS DAWN sheds its light on a new day, a small dog runs for its life down the middle of a deserted street.

It’s a long-haired chihuahua. It’s lost and it’s terrified.


It’s a survivor of the Christchurch earthquake.

Luckily, a police officer is in his patrol car checking the extent of the earthquake damage. He manages to catch the bewildered little dog.

He’d like to take it home. It’s a sweet wee thing but it’s shaking with fear. Getting the dog into safe, caring hands and then back to its owner is high on his mind.

He drives to SPCA Canterbury in Wilmers Rd, Hornby, and delivers the chihuahua into the society’s hands.

Remarkably, SPCA Canterbury’s animal centre has come through the earthquake unscathed. And while the animals in its care are shaken and stirred beyond their understanding, they are otherwise unharmed...

Earthquake emergency

Words & Photos: Fiona Maddison