After 16 months in our care, and having celebrated her 13th birthday, Brie has found her happy ending at our shelter. Due to her age, her insulin dependence and our mutual love of one another, we will not be looking for a home for her. We are very grateful to our supporters for assisting us with Brie's considerable costs - special thanks to her most dedicated sponsors, Colleen and Hoppy.


Photo by
Available Light Ltd


When her primary caregiver was leaving the country, 11-year-old Golden Labrador Brie was booked into a vet clinic for a lethal injection. Thankfully I was alerted and collected this gentle dog from the rope that had tied her to the garage entrance for the past five years. Brie was grossly overweight from lack of exercise and untreated illnesses, her eyes were red-rimmed and lifeless, she had difficulty walking and I was concerned that her tail didn’t wag at all.

It was obvious that something more than senior years was troubling this dog. A thorough vet check revealed several undiagnosed health issues. Brie was suffering with untreated diabetes, hypothyroidism, vaginal infection and an entrenched ear infection - in addition to the common older dog conditions of arthritis, lumps and bumps and early onset cataracts.

Within two days of being in foster care, Brie's hind legs collapsed altogether. Research indicated that both untreated diabetes and untreated hypothyroidism can cause neuropathy, particularly of the back legs and tail. This cumulative nerve damage, increasing numbness and lack of exercise was most likely the reason poor Brie’s legs gave way and she couldn’t wag her tail - no matter how much fuss was made of her...

The good news is that the neuropathy can sometimes gradually be reversed with exercise and with diabetes and thyroid treatment, so Sue, (Brie's initial fosterer) and I learned how to inject insulin twice daily and a decreasing course of thyroid tablets are now given morning and night. In addition, I routinely stretch, brush and massage this lovely dog and add colloidal silver water, vitamins, flax oil and aloe vera liquid to her carefully measured meal plan. Diane and Bill of Seaquel Wetsuits generously donated two custom-made lifting slings so that Brie could be moved and encouraged to use her legs a little. We are very grateful to them as the slings have been invaluable to Brie's mobility.

During three wonderfully bonding hours, I managed to remove all the matting from Brie's coat.

Intensive veterinary monitoring followed and continues, involving multiple full-day stays at the clinic for blood glucose mapping. Brie’s infections have now cleared and her exercise regime is ensuring the gradual return of muscle tone and weight loss. Since we rescued her, dear Brie has lost 4.7kg and on her most energetic days she walks across a rugby field or along Browns Bay beach - where she enjoys wading into the ocean until her stomach is submerged. She is locally famous as she determinedly waddles along our favourite routes with one eye searching out public attention and the other hunting for food scraps.

On her less energetic days, Brie only chooses to walk a few steps before laying down to watch the seagulls, sit in the waves or lay on a picnic rug in the park. These are the days when her diabetes is unstable and her insulin intake needs to be reassessed, closely monitored and adjusted. In time we expect the dosage and her exercise ability to stabilise.

As portrayed in the photos, Brie is enjoying a stimulating lifestyle and varied experiences during her journey to recovery - two short holidays in Otorohanga, a special night sleeping in a human bed, beach and park walks, canine and human company (especially with her best friend and my youngest volunteer, Sam), hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, shopping for bright red pyjamas (kindly donated by volunteer Dianne) and endless loving interaction.

For those who saw us at various parks and beaches, laying on rugs under the shade of trees before she could walk at all, it is nothing short of a miracle that Brie is now sometimes part of the mobile dog scene. And there was never a sweeter day than the one when her tail was able to wag for the first time as she flirtatiously waggled towards me with her favourite duck toy in her mouth. That has never stopped.

A sudden swelling between Brie's toes has been lanced and drained and she will need on-going monitoring and medication adjustments for the rest of her life. I would like to thank Forrest Hill Vet Clinic staff for their patience, for their skill and for kindly discounting Brie's treatments.

However, excluding food and natural therapies, Brie's vet bills are continuously in the hundreds of dollars. These must be settled so that we can continue with her rehabilitation. Please be part of her recovery plan and happy ending.

Please click here to make an urgent donation. Many thanks in anticipation of your vital support.

Special thanks also to George for donating four of his handcrafted dog sculptures for auction on Trade Me. For your own doggie garden ornaments contact George at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you also to Available Light Ltd for its complimentary photographs of our animals and to Samantha for funding Brie's X-ray. Much appreciated. 

Please click here to see photos and a video clip of Brie enjoying her three times a week, complimentary hydrotherapy sessions at Nose to Tail.




Note: If enough funds are raised, I would like to investigate having Brie's small cataracts removed before they enlarge. Thank you again.

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Above three photos by: Available Light Ltd