Companion Dogs in New Zealand

Labrador RetrieverLabrador Retriever

In these days of Internet, iPhones and Blackberries, it is difficult to imagine there are still some people who live in such isolation that their mail and supplies are delivered twice a week by a mail boat. This is the case in the sparsely inhabited region forming the magnificent Marlborough Sounds, situated at the North of the South Island of New Zealand.

For many reasons, this region's inhabitants enjoy the peace of living with nature in the isolation this beautiful place provides. Because of the extremely rugged terrain, road transport is impossible, So boats provide these people's only link to the outside world.

The Mail Boat

Fox TerrierFox Terrier

After a judging appointment in April 2010, I hitched a ride on this mail boat which delivers and picks up New Zealand's mail plus other supplies to the people living in the Sounds which make up the Marlborough Region. This gave me the opportunity to observe some of these people whose isolation appeared to be the lifestyle of their choice.

Marlborough Sounds NZMarlborough Sounds NZ

Delivering suppliesDelivering supplies

The Mail BoatThe Mail Boat

The Dogs' Role of Companionship

Jack Russell TerrierJack Russell Terrier

In New Zealand there are no natural predators such as snakes and other wild animals that could pose a threat to these people. So, they invariably keep dogs purely for company.

Mixed BreedMixed Breed

Children are also part of some of these families. Interestingly, they are educated by a correspondence course, with material delivered and collected by the mail boat.

These dogs greet the 'mail boat' just as enthusiastically as their owners. We were met at different locations by a Golden Retriever, a Jack Russell Terrier, a couple of different Labradors, a Fox Terrier plus a mixed breed. Whatever the breed, or type of dog, it is obvious the companionship these dogs give to the people who live in such isolation.

Golden RetrieverGolden Retriever

Labrador Retriever Labrador Retriever