As Michelle Freeman and her daughter Charli began to expand their pet family, they became increasingly concerned about the unnecessary and extensive use of plastic packaging particularly with regards to pet food and treats. And as a result, Charli & Coco was established.
As a way of reducing waste, the luxury pet boutique offers customers a pet grocer and refillery.
“The raw food products we are stocking are all New Zealand sourced, have no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours and are hormone and antibiotic free,” says Michelle.
Coco (pictured) and her pet siblings are raw food diet converts after noticing the benefits such as a better coat condition, healthier skin and cleaner teeth.
But it is the store’s dry food and treats pet refillery that is a head turner for the city.
“Customers have the option to bring their own containers to refill or purchase some of our stylish and functional vessels for long term storage all of which cuts down on unnecessary packaging,” says Michelle.
The advantages? Customers are only purchasing what is necessary and pets can try a variety of new products without wastage.
Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa’s Geoff Mehrtens tells Metropol how screening blood tests can greatly enhance a vet’s understanding of your pet’s health and uncover many underlying illnesses.
Blood tests make a difference to cats’ and dogs’ wellbeing, sometimes a lifesaving difference.
“Blood tests are great value for money and vets love having that background information,” says Geoff.
“Your pet’s blood tests could literally be a life saver.”
Geoff says many underlying diseases such as chronic renal or liver failure, hormonal diseases like Cushing’s Disease, as well as diabetes and hyperthyroidism (in cats in particular) can all live undetected to the untrained eye.
“Undetected these diseases can cause irreversible damage to vital organs. However, early recognition can allow early and successful treatment and management to allow your pet to live to a healthy old age.”
Whether it’s peace of mind or to investigate a concern, speak with Geoff and the team at Wigram Vets and the Good Dog Spa about obtaining a pet blood test.
German Shepherd Max had chronic intermittent skin problems.
His owners were frustrated, treating the same issue, year-on-year with no progress.
A more in depth workup including blood tests showed that he was hypothyroid.
Max is now on the road to recovery.
Cleo’s owners were at their wits end with her inappropriate urination, and ready to say goodbye. She was elderly, depressed, and losing weight.
Routine bloods confirmed that she was a diabetic. Now her diabetes is well controlled she is back to being a loving, revered member of the family.
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.”
If you’re looking for a reason to venture over to Sumner, we have just the place for you. The Ivy continues to be a local favourite after six years in business, and just by one visit it’s easy to see why – being greeted by Karen and her faithful golden retriever makes for a pleasant experience.
She really wishes to thank everyone for the ongoing local support and is proud to say, “The Ivy has been bustling and busier than usual for this time of the year.
“Borders being closed hasn’t slowed availability of our carefully curated range of both imported and locally sourced items.”
The range includes everything from kitchen to garden, books, homewares, clothing and accessories, baby and children’s, and of course, home fragrance.
The shop itself smells divine with a combination of a beautiful range of locally produced and imported candles, diffusers and more – including the ever popular Lyttleton Lights candles.
Open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm and weekends 11am to 4pm. Follow @theivysumner on Instagram and The Ivy on Facebook.
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.
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.
Bella is a wonderful example of how a successful weight loss programme can lead to a major improvement in wellbeing. Bella’s owners love her but as she crept up to a biggest ever weight of 48kg there came a turning point when she became lame in her left hind leg. A tough love conversation was needed
At her current weight, Bella was a very poor candidate for a surgical repair of a ruptured cruciate for instance.
Bella had tried several diets, but Labradors have a food drive that defies any but the most well-organized of plans.
Bella is now a curvy 39kg and is on a happy path to her goal weight of around 32kg.
“We have achieved this with a combination of clever diet and exercise in our underwater treadmill. Her transformation is amazing,” says Wigram Vet Geoff Mehrtens.
Underwater treadmill exercise has many benefits for overweight dogs.
Even elderly arthritic dogs enjoy exercising in a carefully managed warm water environment.
Underwater treadmill exercise is a great way to rebuild wasted muscles. Muscle mass rapidly increases with minimal risk of injury to stressed ligaments and joints.
Geoff says, “Bella is more lively, enthusiastic and her skin has improved. She has literally shed years off her life and is looking forward to getting back to her previously active lifestyle.”
Obesity is a sensitive topic and unfortunately the clear benefits of a healthy bodyweight are often lost in a debate that becomes blurred by other issues.
At Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa they try to incorporate holistic wellness into their approach to your pet’s health. In modern western society many dogs and cats suffer from being overweight.
There are many studies that clearly show a link between obesity and decreased quality of life.
It can lead to osteoarthritis, cardiovascular issues and inflammatory disorders affecting ligaments, joints and skin.
Does your dog have difficulty rising or lying down?
This could be a sign of osteoarthritis and your dog may be trapped in a vicious cycle of feeling too sore to move and exercise.
If you would like to know more about the ‘K9FIT FOR LIFE’ program, please contact Wigram vet and the Good Dog Spa.
Ali’s Lemons’ reputation for fresh, traditional and distinctive lemon products continues to grow.
Last year her Saffron Lemon Curd was a finalist in the Artisan Awards and her Limoncello Riserva – a firm favourite – has won acclaim in Italy, which is testament to the premium ingredients, care and love which go into each jar and bottle.
Ali’s small batches imbue the range with homestyle quality.
She sources spray-free Yen Ben lemons from the Hawkes Bay, farm-fresh free-range eggs and Green Bee honey from Christchurch, and the highest quality, premium Grade 1 saffron from Wynyard Estate, Roxburgh.
Two new products were introduced last year.
Ali’s Lemon Fresh concentrate is joined by Lemon Reviver, also made with fresh organic lemons but sweetened with local Green Bee honey.
It’s all-natural and, like all Ali’s products, free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
In a world with a heightened awareness of the importance of building immunity, this drink has become a popular choice in Christchurch and beyond.
The new Lemon Rosemary Marmalade is, like the Lemon Ginger Marmalade, delicious on toast, and a tangy glaze on roast lamb, chicken, pork and baked ham.
Loyal customers at Christchurch Farmers’ Market stocking up on the “best lemon curd in the world”, GF Shortbread and Melting Moments, Preserved Lemons and Lemon Caramelised Onion, are fulsome in their praise: “delicious”, “amazing”, “good for you”.
During lockdown Ali launched a new website featuring product photos and proven recipes, enabling food lovers from further afield to shop online.
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.
Dropping your precious baby off for a groom can be stressful. After all, having our hair done is a very personal experience, whether it’s for us or our precious pup. Wigram Vet and the Good Dog Spa is a relatively new dog-centric business with a holistic approach to its doggy clients’ wellbeing.
Emma, head groomer at The Good Dog Spa, is very mindful of making a trip to the groomer a positive experience for both owner and dog.
“We don’t use crates. Both before and after their groom, our dogs get to hang out in the room with us in a very relaxed atmosphere. Dougal, my elderly maltese cross, comes to work with me each day. He is the perfect chaperone for nervous newbies, he is so gentle and welcoming. I strongly believe a puppy’s first grooming encounter must be a kind and positive one so that they learn to enjoy being groomed.”
Buffie brings Max (pictured) to The Good Dog Spa regularly.
“All the staff are welcoming and Max enjoys coming to see Emma, which is important as Max is getting on now.”
The Good Dog Spa has recently expanded its grooming hours to include Saturdays and late-night Wednesdays.
“My sister Amy is a well-known local groomer whom I’ve managed to entice to come and work with me,” Emma says. “We get on great and her experience enhances our skills with large dogs.”
The Good Dog Spa offers a range of doggy delights.
The daycare is small and boutique with a focus on small dogs, and offers short stays of up to two or three days.
Many grooming clients choose to use daycare as an option when their dogs are groomed to allow flexibility for drop off and pick up.
Another feature of the Good Dog Spa is canine rehab with underwater treadmill and massage from in-house canine rehab practitioner Kate Donald.
“We see many elderly golden retrievers and longhaired arctic breeds that love to have an underwater treadmill session to maintain mobility before heading to the groomer for a shampoo and blow dry. Clients love the flexibility and convenience of having all these services under one roof.”
The team at Ourvets love the holiday season as much as everybody else, but between the fun and frolics, family pets sometimes get overlooked, so here’s some tips to keep them happy and healthy over the holidays
While we are filling up on holiday goodies, we all want to give our furry friends a treat too, but keep an eye on what and how much you are giving.
Roast meats (e.g. ham and turkey) are often very fatty and can cause acute illnesses for our pets.
Avoid fatty parts or skin and only give very small amounts of meat. Cooked bones are a big no-no for pets.
They might love these, but the bones can cause major blockages in pets’ guts.
The sharp edges of chewed bones can even pierce through the gut and be life-threatening.
Check in with the whole family and ensure they are aware of what they should and shouldn’t feed the family pet.
Both cats and dogs can quite easily suffer from heatstroke due to their limited ability to cool themselves down (they can’t sweat like us!).
Make sure to always have plenty of water available for your pets (some pets love ice cubes!); avoid taking dogs for walks or runs in the heat of the day (they can burn their feet on the pavement too!).
Never leave pets in cars, even for a short time, or if the car is in the shade – cars can be deadly for pets in summer.
Many people are aware of how toxic chocolate is to dogs, but many are not aware of how deadly lilies can be for cats.
If your cat gets any lily pollen on their coat, be sure to wash it off immediately with lots of water.
Be aware of chocolate around the home – on low tables, under the tree or in children’s stockings (that your dog might cheekily sneak into!).
Many of the above things can be avoided, and Ourvets wants you and your precious pets to have a safe and healthy holiday season.
If you are worried about your pet at all, don’t hesitate to give the team a call.
For more on Ourvets, as well as other great tips for your pet, check out the Ourvets website.