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Better with Pets

How Purina Pound Pups All Started

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Our passion for pets means helping to make a difference for those that need it the most.

That’s why, as an active member of the pet care community, Purina is proud to support a range of leading pet welfare organisations and charities that share our values, in a variety of ways – supporting those who dedicate their lives to improving the life of domestic pets, as well as organisations promoting pets as practical and therapeutic companions for humans. So when we were approached by renowned animal behaviourist Mark Vette, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the lives and perceptions of rescue dogs throughout New Zealand, we got straight to work. Watch how we brought this all to life.

An Intro to Purina Pound Pups

Tune into TV One at 8pm Tuesdays to watch Season 2 of Purina Pound Pups to Dog Stars. If you missed an episode you can catch up here.

Every Dog Deserves a Second Chance

Did you know thousands of dogs are abused, neglected and abandoned every year throughout New Zealand?

We believe every dog deserves a second chance, just like the 10 dogs chosen to star alongside Mark Vette in Season 1 and Season 2. Some of them came from unspeakable situations of abuse and neglect but thanks to Mark and his Team at Animals on Q their lives have been turned around for the better. You can get to know the doggy stars from each Season by reading their stories below.Tune into TV One at 8pm Tuesdays to watch Season 2 of Purina Pound Pups to Dog Stars. If you missed an episode you can catch up here.

Season Two Stars

Lacey
01. Lacey
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Dog Star #1

Lacey

Boxer/Staffy Cross

Lacey
Lacey Lacey
Lacey is a Boxer/Staffy cross who has led a tough life. When she was found in the far north, she had a rope embedded in her neck. Lacey needed surgery to remove the rope and she required numerous stitches right around her neck. All owners have a responsibility to make sure their dog’s collars fit correctly and to buy bigger collars for their puppies as they grow. Lacey understandably was fearful of everything and would roll over in submission at the slightest movement. With a soft nature her confidence needed to be built up to face even the most basic of tasks, like walking up a ramp. But as she started to come out of her shell, Lacey’s predatory instincts developed and she began chasing after chickens. With work to build her trust and confidence, Lacey has come a long way and has developed into a confident and loving dog, having a particularly beautiful bond with children. Lacey is fed Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice which is very palatable and features a complete protein profile comprised of chicken, grains and other high quality ingredients. For more information on providing basic care for your dog, click here.
Pepe & Dude
02. Pepe and Dude
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Dog Star #2

Pepe and Dude

Chihuahuas

Pepe & Dude
Pepe & Dude Pepe & Dude
Pepe and Dude are two Chihuahuas rescued from the same home. Dude is twelve years old and spent his entire life on a chain. Pepe is six years old and was left to roam, being picked up so many times by the pound that eventually his owner refused to pay to have him released. Pepe was also suffering from joint and bone issues. Both dogs were malnourished and had life threatening infestations of fleas. After a vet check it was discovered both dogs also had heart conditions. Much to Rosie’s dismay, neither dog was toilet trained. Any limping and slow, painful movement may indicate joint and bone issues and should always be checked by a vet, who will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and suggest treatment. Dogs with joint and bone issues may benefit from foods that include glucosamine. Pepe’s coat has come up beautifully with PROPLAN Focus Small Breed food. Dude has been recommended a combination of PURINA ONE Vibrant Maturity Senior (especially formulated to provide nutrients required by older dogs) and BENEFUL Prepared Meals. For more information on toilet training, click here.
Bandit
03. Bandit
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Dog Star #3

Bandit

Pointer Cross

Bandit
Bandit Bandit
Bandit was a legend in his home town of Whanganui. The local pound spent three months trying to catch the feral dog that had the run of the town. He scavenged out of rubbish bins, hung around late night burger bars and had hideaway dens all over Whanganui. When he was finally caught, pound staff realised he was so feral they had no-one who was able to train him. Bandit always kept an eye out for an opening and was ready to escape any moment. However, once in captivity he would drop to the ground and completely shut down if anyone approached him. Pound staff were forced to pick him up and carry him everywhere. He seemed beyond help and in danger of euthanasia until Mark stepped in. As a very active dog Bandit has benefited from Purina ONE True Instinct. This is a nutrient-dense food and contains high-quality protein which helps support strong muscles and a healthy heart. For more information on positive reinforcement, click here.
Tyson
04. Tyson
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Dog Star #4

Tyson

Papillion Cross

Tyson
Tyson Tyson
Tyson is a Papillion cross who didn’t like to be touched. The tiny dog would snap at people if they went to handle him. In fact his snapping was so bad the pound was scheduled to have him put down when Mark turned up to rescue him. For a tiny dog, Tyson has a lot of attitude and a real stubborn streak which was at its worst when he refused to come when called. Tyson was also very underweight, made worse by being a fussy eater (which may have been anxiety induced). Tyson began to put on weight and his coat greatly improved through a diet of PRO PLAN Focus Small Breed Puppy and BENEFUL Prepared Meals. To encourage fussy eaters, Mark recommends combining wet food and dry food, as this can encourage them to eat. Feeding frequent smaller meals of a food with a higher fat content can help underweight dogs to bulk up. Your vet will be able to provide you with guidance around feeding underweight dogs. For more information on teaching your dog basic commands, click here.
Marlowe
03. Marlowe
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Dog Star #3

Marlowe

Golden Retriever

Marlowe
Marlowe Marlowe
Marlowe is not a dog you would typically expect to see in the pound. The beautiful golden retriever was rescued after being stuck in the mud for days in the Whitford estuary. Marlowe’s ordeal made him extremely fearful of water. In fact, Marlowe was fearful of everything, from loud noises to basic household items. Even worse for a golden retriever, no one had ever taught him to play. He had no play drive and was very fearful. He had no idea what to do with a ball, let alone how to retrieve it. Marlowe just didn’t know how to be a dog. Being able to play with other dogs is a great way to develop or bring back play drive. Shared play allows a dog to learn from other dogs and gain confidence by being around them and doing what they are doing. Marlowe is thriving on PURINA ONE Large Breed Adult, which is formulated with high quality ingredients and the right balance of nutrients that larger breed dogs require. For more information on encouraging your dog to play productively, click here.
Boy
10. Boy
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Dog Star #10

Boy

Border Collie Beardie Cross

Boy
BoyBoy
Boy is a much-loved 10-month-old Border Collie Beardie cross who lives amongst the protected flora and fauna of the beautiful West Coast. His owner raised him from a pup, but at an early age Boy started showing signs he was becoming a dangerous predator. After killing a petrel, and attacking a seal, he was facing the prospect of being put down. When Boy then showed aggression to a child his owner realised she had a very serious problem and called in Mark to deal with his predatory behavior. Puppies require a different diet to adult dogs so Boy is being fed Purina ONE Healthy Puppy. This is formulated with high levels of essential nutrients, including more protein, to get puppies growing. Boy is now over 12 months old so he has been transitioned onto Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice. For more information on socialising puppies, click here.
Paddy
06. Paddy
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Dog Star #6

Paddy

Labrador Cross

Paddy
Paddy Paddy
Paddy was rescued by the Fire Service after they were called to break into a hoarder’s house. He was severely neglected and underweight, with his ribs exposed. He was also so badly riddled with fleas that his skin had calloused and his fur had fallen out. Paddy was so submissive he completely rolled over on to the ground whenever anyone approached him. And after being so badly starved for a prolonged period of time, he had developed a very bad case of food aggression. Due to his skin condition Paddy is fed PRO PLAN Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach. This food has been expertly formulated to be highly nutritious yet gentle and contains Omega 6 fatty acids and Zinc which help nourish skin and promote a healthy coat. For more information on managing resource guarding, click here.
Joe
09. Joe
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Dog Star #9

Joe

Collie Cross

Joe
Joe Joe
Joe is a heading dog who started his life working on a farm. His first owner put him to work too soon, herding bulls. This experience frightened Joe so badly he became scared of all livestock, even sheep. Luckily a soft- hearted farm worker saved Joe. Heading dogs are the perfect herding dogs and love their work, but Joe needed to overcome his fear of sheep and re-discover his natural instincts if he was to have a chance at being a working dog. Joe is fed Purina ONE True Instinct, which is formulated with a combination of high quality ingredients and provides the extra protein and energy needed by active dogs. For more information on feeding active dogs, click here.
Orville
10. Orville
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Dog Star #10

Orville

Bull Terrier Cross

Orville
Orville Orville

As a nine month old, Bull Terrier cross Orville was just days away from death when he was rescued. A serious case of mange had left his whole body a weeping sore. He weighed just seven kilograms, rather than his ideal 15 kilograms and his digestive system was severely compromised. Once he recovered it became clear he’d had no learning. Orville was clinically hyperactive, with no bite inhibition. Even though he was just a goofy pup, his jumping up and mouthing was a serious problem. As he became happier and more confident in his new environment, his naïve behaviour also started to cause problems with other dogs and fights started to break out.

Orville required a diet that was highly digestible and gentle on his digestive system. Orville is fed PRO PLAN Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach, which combines specialised nutrients and alternative sources of carbohydrates and protein to help maintain healthy skin and digestion.

For more information on digestive health, click here.

Season One Stars

01. Ralphie
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Dog Star #1

Ralphie

Beardie Cross

Ralphie is 2 years old and is a Beardie Cross. As a puppy Ralphie was found wandering in a park, the family that found him took him home but didn’t really want him so he spent the next 18 months chained up before a neighbor reported him. Ralphie was in bad condition when we has found very malnourished and neglected with a matted coat that never looked like it had been brushed or washed. All of Ralphie’s issues stemmed from living his whole life at the end of a chain. He was very shy and timid, his personality had been destroyed. He had never experienced much of everyday life and this resulted in Ralphie been very anxious and nervous in his new surroundings. Ralphie is very handsome and had a great look for TV and film but he needed to overcome all his anxieties before he could be successful which with the right support and training he managed to achieve. Ralphy is now living at the beach with a wonderful family including other doggy pals in Auckland. Due to the issues with his skin and coat Ralphie is fed Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach.
02. Billie
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Dog Star #2

Billie

GOLDEN RETRIEVER/COLLIE CROSS

Billie is an 18month year old Golden Retriever Border Collie Cross. Her owners surrendered her to the pound as they no longer wanted her. Billie got very close to being put down and was saved from the pound literally within hours. Billie’s main issue was that she was out of control. Her old owners had struggled to control her and she had failed her temperament test at the pound due to being completely unruly. Billie is extremely intelligent and needs rules and boundaries but she had never received basic training, let alone the extra stimulation a highly intelligent dog needs. Billie’s intelligence meant that she would thrive in the obedience and agility environment and for this reason she was chosen by BENEFUL to be a play ambassador. Her job was to work with tennis balls and agility equipment at some big events BENEFUL was holding. Billie thrived at these events and exhibited the right attributes the client required. Billie was rehomed with a wonderful family in Auckland who give her the exercise and stimulation she needs. Billie is fed Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice.
03. Dallas
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Dog Star #3

Dallas

Lab Huntaway Cross

Dallas 01
Dallas 02 Dallas 03
Dallas is a Labrador Huntaway Cross. She was found in Kerikeri and was rescued by the Bay of Islands SPCA. Dallas was reported to the SPCA after someone noticed how neglected she was. After investigation by the SPCA inspectors she was surrended to them by her owners. Dallas had been left tied up at an unoccupied property. She had little shelter and had not been let off the lead for at least 6 months. She was receiving very little food so was found severely malnourished. She had a padlocked chain around her neck that needed to be cut off, as no one had a key. Dallas had become pregnant while tied up and she was found with six puppies, although due to their condition only two of these survived. The first priority for Dallas was to get her healthy – provide her with some good nutrition and also treat her coccidiosis. Dallas has a lovely nature but she was very scared and nervous as she hadn’t had a lot of socialisation with both humans and other dogs. She needed lots of work on building up her confidence. Animals on Q were working with TUX to find dogs to star on their new range of packaging and Dallas was chosen due to her perfect ‘Dog next door’ looks. On shoot day Dallas performed like a true professional and featured in some amazing shots. Thankfully Dallas’ story has a happy ending. She was adopted by a loving family who just couldn’t resist those beautiful, big eyes of hers. To get Dallas into tip top condition she was fed Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice.
04. Pippy
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Dog Star #4

Pippy

Jack Russell

Pippy 01
Pippy 02 Pippy 03
Pippy is a two year old Jack Russell. Mark collected her directly from the pound after her owners refused to pick her up. It wasn’t the first time that the pound had found Pippy wandering the streets and her owners were not prepared to pay the fine again. Pippy is an extremely loving dog who builds an attachment to people very easily. It’s this desire for human company that probably led to her escaping from her home and wandering around the neighborhood. She would have been lonely during the day and looking for her family while they were at work. Pippy’s personality is typical Jack Russell, extremely full on, intelligent and very confident. She’s an attractive dog with lovely markings. Pippy’s high activity level, great sense of smell and real determination with that “never give up attitude” of a Jack Russell made her a great candidate to become a truffle dog. Pippy went through some intense training and showed she had the necessary skills to search out this food delicacy. She was adopted by a family in Rotorua to become a working truffle dog. Pippy is fed Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice.
05. Peanut
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Dog Star #5

Peanut & Patch

Peanut: Chihuahua Patch: Papillon/Chihuahua Cross

Peanut is a 2 year old female Chihuahua who was signed over to the pound by her owner who was finding it difficult to cope with Peanut and her side kick Patch. Together this twosome was getting a very bad reputation in the neighbourhood for their aggressive behaviour. They were chasing children, the postie, other dogs and even cars. At the pound it proved very difficult to rehome these two as they required an experienced owner who could cope with their behavioural issues. A foster home attempt failed due to Peanut and Patch trying to attack the carer’s cat. Peanut and Patch really were running out of chances until Mark found them. Patch’s issues were not as severe as Peanut’s, Peanut was the ring leader and Patch the follower. Once the two were separated Patch’s behaviour improved immensely and a loving home was found for him. Peanut went through some intensive training to socialise her with other dogs and address her aggressive behaviour to ensure she could be rehomed. Thankfully with the expert help from Mark and Rosie, Peanut was able to make a real transformation, landing a TV role and a wonderful new owner. Peanut is a little bit fussy when it comes to food so she enjoys eating Beneful Incredibites especially designed for small dogs.
06. Jewel
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Dog Star #6

Jewel

Staffy Cross

Jewel was almost 9 months old when she was seized by the SPCA. Jewel had been badly mistreated by her owner and was found wearing a collar that she had grown too big for. Poor Jewel had a wound so bad from the collar that it had exposed her jugular vein and her neck needed to be repaired by surgery. Jewel’s tough start to life meant that she had two main issues she needed to overcome. Due to the mistreatment and neglect Jewel had suffered, particularly around a lack of food, she had developed some major food-aggression issues, which were fortunately overcome very quickly. The other big issue was Jewel’s submissiveness. This became an issue while trying to teach her basic training; when asked to follow a command, Jewel would just roll on her back. Through kindness and respect Jewel soon learnt to trust humans and her constant submission eased and a really smart, easy to train dog soon emerged. Due to Jewel’s intelligence and sweet nature, partnered with her size and strength she showed all the traits needed to become a skilled companion. Jewel quickly learnt how to assist people to open doors and collect personal and household items. She did really well on her skilled companion assessment and proved she did have the skills needed to work in this area. Jewel was adopted by a fantastic family in Auckland and loves the constant cuddles she now receives. Jewel was on Purina ONE Puppy until she was 12 months then moved onto Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice.
07. Rikki
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Dog Star #7

Rikki

Staffy Bull Terrier Cross

Rikki is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier X who was rescued by the Auckland SPCA. Rikki was living a horrendous life, constantly beaten by his owners; his story is a very sad one, he lost an eye, had a broken jaw, fractured leg and missing teeth. Rikki’s case was one of the worst cases of animal neglect reported in NZ. His owner was prosecuted and received jail time. When Mark and his team took on Rikki from the SPCA, although a lot of his obvious physical injuries were healing, he still had some neurological and skin issues that needed to be sorted before he could begin any training. Despite his horrific start to life and the mistreatment he had suffered at the hands of humans, Rikki still had a lovely, friendly nature and loves people; he’s very kind and gentle, which made him a great ambassador to go into schools and help educate children on how to behave around dogs and how to treat them kindly. Rikki has found a loving new home and is now living the good life with his new family. Due to the skin issues Rikki was suffering he is fed Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach.
08. Kaiser
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Dog Star #8

Kaiser

German Shepherd

Kaiser is a white German Shepard who was surrendered to German Shepherd Rescue after going through three owners in his first 18 months of life. Kaiser’s first owner bought him as a puppy and left him tied up on the deck. He wasn’t socialised or shown any attention and this led to out of control behaviour and aggression. His next two owners did try to work with him but soon gave him up after been unable to deal with his unpredictable and aggressive behaviour. Kaiser was lucky that German Shepherd Rescue agreed to take him. They are passionate about German Shepherds and could see that there was possibly some hope for him with some intensive rehabilitation. Mark also saw the potential in Kaiser and agreed to take him in and begin rehabilitation. Kaiser’s behaviour wasn’t easy to fix, Mark Vette and his team had to overcome a host of issues, over-protectiveness, wariness of people, and territorial aggression. If these issues couldn’t be overcome then he really wouldn’t be able to be rehomed. German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs and Kaiser did start to learn the behaviour that was expected of him. With the specialised training that Mark and his team were able to offer him this meant that Kaiser could overcome these issues. He was rehomed with a fantastic family where he gets to enjoy his passion for water and ball play. Kaiser is fed Purina ONE Adult Large Breed Chicken and Rice which includes Glucosamine, an essential nutrient for large breed dogs especially German Shepherds that are prone to hip and joint issues.
09. Chopper
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Dog Star #9

Chopper

Labrador

Chopper is a 3 year old Chocolate Labrador who was surrendered by his owners to the local pound. Chopper was an escape artist who was picked up by the pound numerous times for wandering and his owners didn’t want to keep paying the fines as they’d had enough. This left Chopper on death row, until a foster home came along. One of the first priorities with Chopper was to get him neutered. Entire males are more prone to wandering as they go out looking for female dogs. Each time he did this Chopper put his life at risk, crossing busy roads and running along footpaths. Neutering Chopper also helped with his mounting issues and lessened his chances of fighting with other male dogs. Chopper also hadn’t had a lot of basic training so it was about starting from the beginning with him. Luckily Labradors tend to be highly food driven which makes training a lot easier. Labradors are also well known for their lovely personalities and are a perfect breed for working out in the community. In recent years reading support dogs have become more and more popular in schools. Chopper was a great candidate for this and was a huge hit with the children. Chopper has sensitive skin so is fed Pro Plan Select Sensitive Skin and Stomach formula.
10. Moss
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Dog Star #10

Moss

Collie Cross

Moss is a 1 year old Collie cross. Moss was owned by an elderly gentleman and when he passed away his family wasn’t interested in looking after her, so Moss was left chained up in the backyard. Eventually the family decided to take her to the pound. She was flea ridden, underweight and had kennel cough when she was surrended. When Moss came to Animals on Q the first priority was to get her back into good condition, whilst ensuring that she was happy and trusting of her new surroundings. Being part Collie, Mark could see the makings of a great farm dog in Moss. Slowly they tested her ability to work in this area and around farm stock. Moss learnt quickly and proved to be a real natural. She was adopted by a farmer to become a working farm dog. To get her back into tip top condition Moss was fed Purina ONE Adult Chicken and Rice.

Get to Know the Hero of the Show

Mark Vette — Animal Behaviourist

Mark Vette has over 35 years experience working with animals. He is a trained zoologist in animal behaviour and psychology with a Master’s Degree in sheep dog genetics and behaviour. He has lived and studied in the United States, including training as an animal consultant at Battleguard Indiana – a wolf park. In New Zealand, he is one of the only professionally qualified Animal Behaviour Consultants and his expertise has been used for local government and animal organisations. Mark runs a talent agency for animals in film and TV as well as running a premier animal behaviour clinic where he helps train pets out of aggressive behaviours, phobias and other issues and teaches them how to socialise safely with humans and other animals. Mark also consults for many organisations on various animal related subjects and teaches at Universities and Polytechnics. Learn more about the doggy stars of the show here

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