Dogs and horses to the fore

Dogs and horses to the fore for 2020

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games is expecting a few more four-legged visitors through its support of animal welfare organisations.

Retired Working Dogs, Nightrave, Greatmates, Life After Racing and Canine Friends Pet Therapy Dogs, will bring a new dimension to the Games says founder Steve Hollander.

“Dogs and horses are a huge part of many successful farms and families and have been for generations. I’m thrilled that we’ve had sponsors come on board to help each of these charities to raise their public profile during the Games.”

Retired Working Dogs, sponsored by CopRice, is a charity that finds forever homes for old, failed and injured working dogs. Fundraiser, Karen Cox, says they have dogs available of all ages and abilities. Some dogs just don’t want to work, while others may have a career-ending injury. A few dogs can still manage some work on the flat or a small farm or lifestyle blocks. They adapt very well to pet life and have a lot  to offer. 

Nightrave has been at the Rural Games for the past two years. The charity represents a different kind of working dog.

Nightrave is a nation-wide adoption agency for greyhounds who have retired from racing. Nightrave aim to match families and individuals with a greyhound that will suit their individual needs as pet owners to ensure each greyhound finds the perfect home. Nightrave also provide further training for specific greyhounds that may need some extra attention on their journey to becoming a pet.

“The games allow us to showcase our wonderful greyhounds and what terrific pets they make after finishing their racing career. This year, Greyhound Racing New Zealand are also focusing on educating the public about our rehoming efforts and the training each greyhound goes through to transition into life as a full-time pet” said Marketing Specialist Lisa Jaques.

Harness Racing New Zealand has a vision for Standardbred welfare where “Every Standardbred horse should be treated with respect, compassion and understanding and shall receive a standard of care which allows them to enjoy a good quality of life while in the racing industry and on retirement.” Harness Racing New Zealand will have a presence at the Rural Games for the first time.

“Our mission is to work with the racing industry (trainers, breeders, and owners) rehoming groups, government organisations and welfare groups to enable the care of the Standardbred horses to exceed the current animal welfare standards. Standardbreds can have successful careers after racing in many equestrian disciplines. Our aim is to increase awareness of their suitability for showing, sports horse activities, trekking and so much more,” says Harness Racing New Zealand’s General Manager Corporate Services, Liz Bishop.

The other charity is Canine Friends Pet Therapy. Their volunteers take well-behaved dogs into rest homes, hospices, special education units and hospitals around the country.

Ann Evans, the Manawatu Events Coordinator and Liaison Officer of Canine Friends Pet Therapy says dogs make a genuine difference to the outlook of people who are going through a difficult time – and that’s something we really see a lot in the rural community.

“For those who have retired from farm life, or who are too ill to be on the farm –  they really miss the daily interaction with their animals so seeing and interacting with dogs can make a huge difference to their outlook.”

Steve Hollander says the addition of the charities will be a welcome addition to the 2020 Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games and will be a huge hit with our competitors and attendees – young and old alike.

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Dogs and horses to the fore

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