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Puppy School Paw-fection: Ourvets


A passion for dogs and their good behaviour drives Sarah Ryan, Veterinary Nurse at Ourvets St Albans. With 15 years as a vet nurse under her belt, Sarah knows what makes our canine friends tick – right from puppyhood.

 

At Ourvets St Albans Sarah runs The Puppy Club – puppy training classes that are the equivalent of primary school for your furry new member of the family.

“At puppy school I teach you how to train your puppy, but also how your puppy learns, communicates, and develops,” she says.

“It is a fun and interactive course set over five lessons, where you get information, tools, tips, and tricks to ensure your puppy becomes a social, happy, and confident dog.”

Sarah says the first session is an owner’s only class and then you bring your puppy to the group for the next four sessions.

“We are very busy at the moment, with eight maximum per class, we have been running two to three classes with all of the pups aged between eight to sixteen weeks.”

At puppy school, small canines and large humans learn basic dog obedience covering sit, drop, come, and stay; toileting; crate etiquette; digging, barking, and chewing issues, as well as socialisation.

“Owners tell me they find the training really effective, and the recall command has brought back many a little escapee who is tearing across a park,” she says.

Sarah has her own dog, a gorgeous three-year-old Border Collie called Piper who is, of course, so beautifully trained she has already ready won the beginners grade in the National Dog Obedience competition.

However, for Sarah, working with Piper on dog obedience as well as a full-time vet nurse and puppy wrangler extraordinaire at Ourvets just wasn’t quite enough.

Sarah also has her own dog walking business, Pets Steps.

“I walk dogs one at a time or perhaps along with Piper. If owners request it, I can train their dog on how to walk on a lead really nicely at heel. The dogs respond really positively and I’m passionate about that.”


 

Mindful Beauty


Mindful beauty is a new trend that will get you glowing inside and out. We show you how to embrace the trend which is as much about calming the mind as it is about cleansing the skin.

Mindful beauty is a meeting point between skincare and self-care, representing beauty rituals which calm the mind, cleanse the skin and offer a little bit of me-time.

Rather than a quick slap and dash of applying your products, mindful beauty is about slowing down and being in the moment with mindful gestures, breathing techniques and meditation.

Mindful beauty is the intent to honour and centre yourself through your beauty routine and has unsurprisingly picked up momentum in recent months as people look for at-home ways to steel themselves against uncertainty.

The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are known to relieve stress, improve sleep and even alleviate some symptoms of medical conditions – so why not incorporate these principles into something you’re already doing?

When approaching mindful beauty, you’ll need two things: products and technique. So let’s start with products. This is easy – it can be anything you already use, like cleansers, masks, moisturisers or mists and relaxing bath and body favourites like soaks, bath and body oils, body and hand creams. Some recommend aromatherapy-infused products like those featuring lavender, rose or frankincense, but it’s not a must…

…Because it’s how you use them that counts! Schedule in a time, pick some of your favourite products, light some candles and lather up!

Focus completely on what you’re doing, and when your mind wanders, simply acknowledge the thoughts, let them float past and gently turn your attention back to the task at hand.

Whether you incorporate mindful beauty to unwind at the end of the day or set yourself up for the day with a moment of calm before the storm, it might just be time to start taking a mindful approach to beauty. It will have you looking and feeling your best.


 

Help the huskies


When Twilight became a hit, so too did the husky dog breed. By the time Game of Thrones hit our screens, Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes and other ‘wolf’-like breeds and crossbreeds had been cemented as the ‘it’ dogs for 15 to 25-year olds. It’s Michelle Attwood and her Husky Rescue NZ team who are picking up the pieces.

 

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The Christchurch-based charity has spent the last 11 years rehabilitating and rehoming the huskies – one of the most rehomed breeds of dog in New Zealand.

“As soon as we thought ‘yay no more Game of Thrones’ we got Togo on Disney Plus and The Call of the Wild,” Michelle says.

“Hit movies made them popular, but Facebook marketing and the ability to market these dogs online made the perfect storm.”

Because, as beautiful and loveable as huskies are, they are also strong-willed, independent and high-maintenance.

They not only need strong discipline, a well fenced backyard and plenty of exercise, but there’s also a dense dual coat to deal with.

Some of them are like naughty school children and some of them just tear you apart when they leave, Michelle says.

A previous arrival weighed just 7kg. “We had to fatten her up to 13kg just to be able to transport her to our main base,” Michelle says.

“She’s now 18kg and went to an amazing home recently. There were a lot of tears!”

Handing the dogs over to their forever homes is the most fulfilling part of what Michelle does. A family that adopted one of the very first dogs in Michelle’s care recently adopted another one and it’s people like this that become like family.

“Getting stories and pictures from people is awesome; seeing the dogs playing in the snow or curled up in front of their new fireplace is just the best feeling.”

Established by Michelle in 2009 when she became aware of the sheer number of unwanted or abandoned huskies, Husky Rescue NZ takes in surrendered or abandoned huskies, assesses their health and suitability for re-homing before arranging for them to be de-sexed, vaccinated and micro chipped.

The team then works tirelessly to ensure the dogs find their forever home with someone who is aware of what’s required to look after this majestic breed.

But all of this comes at a cost – approximately $380,000 per year (pre-COVID-19). The charity previously relied on income from public events and educational activities to meet their funding requirements and until recently, plans were in place to further development their recently leased premises in Rolleston.

But the impact of COVID has not only put paid to those plans, it’s put the future of the charity in question.

When COVID hit, there were 67 dogs in their care and the charity lost all of its income.

“We’ve never had to rely on donations, we financed it ourselves, but suddenly there was only donations.

“The public did try to help, for which we are forever grateful, but we haven’t reached our goal and we may have to close our big South Island base. The reality is, without a very large injection of funding, we will have to drop back substantially. We’re hoping to not have to close, but bulk funding is now urgent,” Michelle says.

“At the moment, the future is looking very bleak.”

To help Husky Rescue NZ, text HUSKY to 833 to make an instant $3 donation, find them on Givealittle, or visit the website below to find out how you can help. Corporate donations and sponsorships will be welcomed.


 

Post lockdown treats – you deserve it!


The Skin Rejuvenation Clinic is a small business run by two local Christchurch women that has been going for more than 15 years.

 

 

Dr Brigid Lee and Denise Prosser have worked tirelessly to provide Cantabrians with the safest, cutting edge anti-aging treatments available worldwide.

It is their passion for helping their clients to get the best results possible that has set them up as the destination for skin rejuvenation procedures in Christchurch.

Unlike other beauty businesses that have seen their clients attempting to ‘give it a go’ at home during lockdown, that isn’t possible with the medical level of treatments done at the Skin Rejuvenation Clinic!

What are clients desperately waiting for?

Cooltech – a treatment that targets unwanted bulges by using cryolipolysis (using cold to kill fat cells). Great for mummy tummies, back fat, inner and outer thigh bulges – helpful with wobbly bits that have turned up during lockdown.

Ulthera – this treatment uses the power of microfocused ultrasound to tighten the lower face and neck areas, also great around the eyes. FDA approved as a non-surgical facelift.

Injectables – Botulinum Toxin (Botox® or Dysport®) is used to relax facial muscles, thereby reducing wrinkles on the face. Dermal fillers are a nonpermanent, naturally occurring substance, that can lift and fill where there is volume loss on the face (such as sagging cheeks, lips and under eye areas).

“Now that we are in Level 2, hopefully life is returning to normality. Stay safe and support local!” from Dr Brigid and Denise.


 

Banish winter worries


We’re heading into winter, which means dry, lifeless skin, right? It doesn’t have to be this way! We’ve got our top tips for maintaining your skin throughout the cool months.

 

 

SOMETHING IN THE AIR… and hopefully that’s moisture to keep your skin hydrated! The warm, dry air pumping out of your fireplace or heatpump can wreak havoc on your skin, so it’s just as important that you’re keeping your fluid intake up during the cooler months, as it is in the heat.

YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND: You can’t go wrong with a good moisturiser! It’s something that you can use year-round. Learn to swear by it and thank us later.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: Unlike bears and bats, us humans don’t need to stockpile our food stores. So winter isn’t the time to start binge eating or carb loading. We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but that extra packet of chocolate biscuits won’t be doing wonders for your skin.

SPRAY AND WALK AWAY: If you’re in a rush to get somewhere and you don’t have time to moisturise, using a face mist is a great alternate option to add some hydration to your face.


 

An alternative to breast reduction: encore cosmetic clinic


Once upon a time there was only one way to reduce breast size. It involved a surgical procedure which could include a significant recovery period and possible complications. Only a small proportion of procedures were able to be carried out within the public system.

 

 

 

Fortunately, an alternative approach is now available right here in Christchurch.

The really excellent news is that Dr Grant Bellaney, founder of the Encoré Cosmetic Clinic performs a breast reduction procedure called tumescent liposuction, with extremely good results.

“If breast reduction is on your wish-list, please do come and see me for a consultation,” says Dr Bellaney, “Most breasts, particularly in women over the age of 40, consist of 40-60 percent fat, so the removal of fat can give a significant reduction in breast size.”

Breast reduction procedures using tumescent liposuction have been developed and practised by dermatological surgeons such as Dr Bellaney who are skin and fat specialists, since the 1980s and it has an outstanding safety record.

“The technique has huge advantages over the surgical form of breast reduction (called mammoplasty).

It is a form of ‘keyhole surgery’ so results in little or no scarring as the small incisions done during the procedure heal very quickly, usually without needing sutures.

It is simpler and less painful than mammoplasty and the recovery time is far quicker,” Dr Bellaney says.

It is also safer because it is performed under tumescent anaesthetic, which has fewer risks than surgery under general anaesthetic.

There are also fewer side effects. With traditional surgery about 10-25 percent of patients can experience a permanent loss of sensitivity around the nipples or an inability to breastfeed afterwards.

With tumescent liposuction, the risk reduces to less than one percent.

“It’s a day procedure, so women can go home afterwards and are usually back to their regular routine within a few days.”

The only specialist in the South Island performing this technique, Dr Bellaney has successfully performed the procedure on hundreds of women over the last 10 years. Phone the day surgery clinic at 248 Papanui Road in Merivale, 03 356 0214 or visit the website.


 

Essential Care: Ourvets


Over the last month of COVID-19 restrictions, Ourvets St Albans remained open to provide essential care for all our furry friends. It hasn’t been an easy process – frequent changes to the guidelines around what ‘essential care’ was permitted, long hours, understandably anxious clients and sick pets have made for a very challenging time. We caught up with the team about what life has been like inside the veterinary clinic.

 

 

Protecting our staff and our clients has always been front of mind when decision making during lockdown.

We needed to close some of the Ourvets clinics so that we could separate our staff into teams.

This was to ensure there would be no crossover of staff – if a team member became sick, one team would be removed, rather than taking out our whole workforce and potentially needing to close shop altogether.

We needed to ensure staff were safe and that our ability to provide essential care to pets wouldn’t be compromised.

We were very excited when Ourvets Halswell reopened and could once again provide essential information and care for clients and their pets.

While we have continued operating, our wonderful clients have not been allowed into the clinic for over a month.

This has been one of the hardest things for clients and we get it! It’s been challenging for us too.

We’ve all been feeling the emotional strain of not being able to comfort clients through difficult situations or simply to spend that extra time talking things through with them.

As many companies across the world have been looking for different and new ways to work, our team has been no exception.

We’ve introduced different ordering systems, phone systems and communication to clients, as well as developing completely new processes to operate safely in clinic.

The ideas that have come from this period have been so great, they will continue on, even once we’re back to normal.

This is not over yet, but we’re optimistic that together we can all get through this.

Our veterinarians, veterinary nurses, receptionists and managers are all doing their best. Please remember to be kind to them so that they can continue to look after you and your furry family members.

We look forward to seeing our wonderful clients and their gorgeous pets again soon.


 

Adding a furry new addition


A new furry addition to the family is always an exciting time, but it can be stressful too! There are lots of things to learn and things to prepare for. Diana of the Ourvets team has recently had a new addition, Rupert, a gorgeous, nine-week-old corgi. We caught up with Diana about what she considered when taking on her new addition.

 

 

Did you request any information from the breeder?

Absolutely. I asked about worming, any vaccinations which had already been done and which diet he had been on; all three of these are important to continue (or start) once the new pup arrives with you.

Puppies need to have more frequent worming treatments when they’re young.

All puppies are born with worms, so it’s important to get on top of these.

The best way to protect your puppy is by vaccinating.

As with worming, they receive more frequent vaccines as puppies, so it’s important to get the timing right.

Meanwhile, having some of the diet that the puppy was eating previously is a good way to avoid an upset tummy – even if it’s only to transition them onto the diet you intend on feeding them long-term.


What else will you do now that you have him?

I’m definitely going to get him microchipped and registered with the Companion Animal Register (NZCAR).

I will also organise insurance for him. Starting puppy preschool is also high on the list (he’s quite the rascal!).

There are many insurers that even offer a free period for puppies and kittens!

It’s a great idea to shop around for insurance to find the best fit for you and your pup, as there are many options.


Ourvets holds puppy preschool classes in St Albans and Halswell.

These are focused mainly on educating owners on raising well-rounded, happy pups at home, and less focused on teaching specific commands (although we do cover this too!).

These are just a handful of things to consider. Remember, the best place to get pet advice is from your veterinarian.

Ourvets recommends ‘Best for Pet’ – a preventative healthcare plan that will give your pet discounts and free consultations so you can ask all the questions you have without the worry of cost.

Ask in clinic to find out more, or visit www.bestforpet.co.nz.


 

Coming home…


Having just celebrated its first anniversary, the Nurse Maude Hospital has become home for those needing long-term residential, end of life, complex and respite hospital-level care.

Copyright Neil Macbeth

 

With its large established garden and streamside walk, the residents enjoy warm and secure surroundings, each with their own ensuite, large communal and smaller private lounges.

Nurse Maude’s nursing and medical team works alongside residents and their families to provide the very best individual clinical care with skill and compassion.

That care is based on the values that were established almost 125 years ago when Nurse Maude herself cared for some of the most vulnerable and frail in the Christchurch community.

Having a sense of purpose, fun, meaning, control and dignity are all key elements of the care.

Family and friends are a large part of that, with visits welcome at any time, including those from the family dog.

“This is, after all, the residents’ home and they deserve no less,” Nurse Maude General Manager of Marketing Sue Bramwell says.

Meeting the individual needs of residents, many with complex health needs, takes a responsive, skilled and flexible approach, and the total commitment of nursing staff and specially trained volunteers.

A sense of loneliness or social isolation can be a large part of getting older for some, so along with that nursing care, Nurse Maude makes sure residents get the time they need to be listened to and enjoy the company of others.

“It’s important for our residents, and their families, to be able to trust that we will look after and respect them and never forget they have had full and interesting lives before they came to live here,” Sue says.

“Meeting their desire to be as independent as possible, to continue to be involved and know that they matter is just as important as meeting their health needs.”

Residents at the Nurse Maude Hospital may be fully funded and there is no charge for those needing palliative care.

“We can also provide private and respite care,” Sue says. “And we can step you through the process for funding and admission.”

Situated in the heart of Merivale, and surrounded by shops and cafés, the Nurse Maude Hospital also has its own café where residents and their families can enjoy coffee and great food.

“If you’re thinking of long-term or respite care with us then the best place to start is to ring and ask for a tour of the hospital. From there you can discuss what options are best for you,” Sue adds.


 

Empowering retirees’ independence


A new tablet-based health, safety and connection system, designed with the collaboration of Kiwi seniors, has won the financial backing of Qestral Corporation and is now installed in 200-plus independent living homes at Alpine View Retirement Village in Christchurch.

 

 

CEO of Spritely, Christopher Dawson, developed the system after his father suffered a medical event at home.

“I thought there had to be a way technology can help Kiwi seniors like Mum and Dad, not just to be safer, but also to be healthier and more connected.”

John Ryder, Executive Chairman of Qestral Corporation, describes Spritely as an important innovation in the New Zealand aged-care sector.

“We’ve invested in Spritely because we believe in its potential as a sector-wide solution to a number of big issues.”

Spritely addresses:

Health
• A sensor in the home triggers an alert if there’s no movement after 10am (called ‘awake and well’ monitoring)

Health
• Health vitals measurement and tracking; with wireless blood pressure machine and scales
• Day and time-packed medication dispensary and delivery (called ‘club med’)
• Medication alert reminders

Connection
• Digital phonebook
• Video calling
• Digital noticeboard
• Events and notifications
• A live weather forecast
Alpine View is the first retirement village in NZ to make this kind of touch screen communication system available in every house and apartment. Serviced houses and apartments also get additional Spritely Care features, including personal health monitoring etc, as outlined on their website.
Spritely is now available for retirement villages, with a ‘community version’ already in development.