The dashboard needle hovers at 80 and the grey urban complexes melt into a verdant blur. Auckland’s traffic, trim flat whites and bustle fades as the smooth tarmac gives ways to gravel’s gritty crackle. As the west coast’s earthy musk fills the van, its occupants become visibly animated. Before the wheels even crunch to a stop they know they’ve arrived.
Dog handler, Alex, smoothly detangles Millie and Chip, calms Alfie and clips the GPS tracker onto Ollie, a Dalmatian who loves to run. Once they are settled and listening she lets them out. Noses to the ground, the pack knows what to do. Soon the inky black sand, glistening with water, is scattered by nine dogs racing down to the shore. They have embarked on their Wilderness Adventure with CityPets Canine Adventures.
Today there are as many services for pets as for their owners. Everyone wants their dog to be happy. “Dogs play an important role in modern family life,” says CityPets owner Flash Hayter, “but the kindest opportunities we can provide them with, is to be true to their canine selves. The owners who come to City Pets realise their canine family members need to roll around, socialise, get muddy and go on long distance walks and runs.” They are certainly happier for it.
On the coast, Alfie is covered in seaweed, while Mabel splashes in a pool of seawater and Millie trots along; a bouncing fluff-ball. As they swim, run and play without interruption, Alex offers clear direction and guidance, allowing healthy social bonds to form.
The walk back to the van is punctuated by heaving panting. Covered in salt, sand and silt, their heads droop one by one. As the forestry morphs into urban complexes, “almost home” falls on deaf ears.
They’re already asleep.
Words: Elisabeth Giles
499 Manukau Rd, Epsom
021 217 7191 | citypets.co.nz