“How to Mend a Kea”

Sue Wootton

How to mend a keaWildbase Hospital is an animal hospital, based at Massey University in Palmerston North. It specialises in the treatment of native New Zealand animals and birds. It’s also a training hospital for veterinarians, nurses and wildlife technicians. A terrific kids’ book by Janet Hunt has recently been published about the work done there: How to Mend a Kea and other fabulous fix-it tales from Wildbase Hospital.

It’s a beautifully designed book, chock full of interesting information and appealing illustrations, and written in a clear, engaging style. That’s ‘Kea: Patient #78129’ on the cover, wrapped in a towel ready for his daily weigh-in. As Hunt explains, the patients are identified by their species and a number:

The Wildbase team tries very hard not to tame patients. It’s not good for the birds to rely on people because sooner or later they will be free, living healthy independent lives in the wild. They are not humans and that’s why they (mostly) don’t have names.”

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Therapy dog: Jack and the SPCA Dog Squad

Joanne O’Carroll-McKellar

The author and Jack

I have always wanted to be a member of the SPCA Dog Squad. I’ve owned Curly-Coated Retrievers since 1995, but my previous Curlies, for various reasons, were not suitable: too bouncy, dribbled, didn’t like children. And then, two years ago, I adopted Jack. I soon realised he was a perfect mix of cheerfulness and calm, an important quality for a therapy dog.

Our first ‘job’ as a member of the SPCA Dog Squad, with our coordinator, was to the children’s ward at the Dunedin Public Hospital. Who was more nervous, Jack or me? It was hard to tell.

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Miraculous Maisie

Dr Jill McIlraith

schnauzer poodle
a schnauzer poodle (not Maisie)

In the realm of angels and miracles, a schnoodle would seem an unlikely heroine.

But making grief bearable, helping a 68 year old lady fall in love again and bringing a family together is all in a day’s work for Maisie, a schnauzer-poodle bundle of cuddles and energy.

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