Celebrating Graduates – Part 1

Welcome to this weeks edition of the Assistance Dogs New Zealand Blog. Last week, we got a bit technical and looked at some genetic science, and how the colours of puppies are determined. This week, we leave the science behind, and celebrate some of the graduates from the ADNZ training programme, who are out working.

My involvement with ADNZT has grown over the past four years, and we now have regular photo sessions with the pups as they grow up, as well as when they graduate. One thing I’ve noticed at their graduation shoots, is how mature the dogs are. It’s like they have learnt that they have a job to do, and have taken that responsibility on board.  They’re ready to work and we know they’ll work well. Some of the dogs go on to work for people that share their stories on social media, and others prefer to keep things more private. But because we share so much about these amazing dogs up to and including their graduation, it’s nice to be able to reflect and see the good work they go on to do in communities right across the country.

Without further ado, let’s introduce the first of our graduates to you in this series……


Amber is a great example of how much the dogs mature while they’re undergoing their specific training, just before graduation. They have usually already been matched with a potential client, so their training is focused around the particular needs of that client. These photos were taken in February of 2017.

Amber graduated in August of 2017, some 6 months later, and the difference in her was very noticeable. She had matured, and grown into her new knowledge. She was confident, and obviously knew she was the bees knees!

Since graduation, Amber has been placed with a family to help a young boy who is on the spectrum.

Amber has made a huge difference to this family which is now able to enjoy getting out and about with a freedom that had been lost for some time.

Amber is indeed a beautiful and special girl, and everyone who took part in her development can be very proud.

She’s doing a wonderful job and enjoying every minute.


Bindi is a beautiful, sweet girl, with an absolute passion for tennis balls. When her jacket is on, she’s working and all about that.

But when she’s playing, she just loves to chase balls and have fun with them.

Bindi graduated in May 2018, and has been both a saviour and a friend to the lady she works with, who has many complex conditions. They both enjoy the world of poetry and writing. Bindi, however still enjoys chasing, or devouring tennis balls


Paddy is a beautiful boy (I can see a theme here, but truly, they are all beautiful!). Paddy graduated in August 2017, and went to work with a lady who has MS. Paddy is a constant help to her, and has proved his worth in more ways than one. Apart from caring for his own friend and client, Paddy has also been instrumental in saving a child from drowning. He and his client were at the local pool in the summer, and no one else noticed a child stuck under the pool bar in the water. But Paddy noticed and raised the alarm in just enough time to save the child. Well done Paddy! We’re all so proud of you!


Renault was one of the two yellow pups in the ‘R’ litter. His sister Ruby, who has just had the ‘K’ litter was the other yellow pup. There were also 8 black puppies in that litter, so watch out for more ‘R’s in the graduating lists ahead!

Renault was a sweet puppy. Renault (the company) was a sponsor and named him, so it was only natural that he was photographed as a puppy with lots of car themes, along with the usual play and formal photos.

Renault graduated in December 2018.

He really enjoyed his photo session, and after we’d finished, he just stayed in the spot, posing and waiting for more photos, so we packed up around him!

He is now working with a young girl. He goes to school with her, and as you can imagine is a firm favourite with teachers and pupils alike.

Just look at his smile!

Watch out for future stories that celebrate some of our other beautiful graduates in our ‘Celebrating Graduates’ series.

Do you enjoy reading about what the dogs do after they graduate? Let us know in a comment below and also if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to look at. After all, other people may be wondering the same thing!

If you’d like to help ADNZT with our work, one way is through puppy sponsorship. For as little as $5.00 a week, you can help change someones life.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week.