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Pooch-mania at the RNZFB

Pooch-mania at the RNZFB

Christmas is rolling around again and The Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind (RNZFB) is getting into the swing of things with their own line of Christmas cards and a 2003 New Zealand Events Calendar featuring guide dogs and guide dog puppies.

These smoochie-poochies went all out to perfect the perfect pose for the camera.

One of the greatest displays of self control came from Miss May – guide dog-in-training, Ursa - who had to restrain herself from devouring a platter of freshly caught seafood placed right under her nose during two hours of shooting at Seamart in Auckland.

Instead, Ursa made do with munching on the parsley surrounding the seafood! Her puppy walker Jenni Vail says Ursa has a penchant for health foods, often eating guavas, walnuts and camellia flowers off trees.

RNZFB’s Direct Marketing Product Manager Debbie Swanwick, who spent three months organising production of the glossy calendar, had the task of controlling the guide dog puppies' natural exuberance.

Debbie and the puppy walkers were all involved in the huge effort to get the puppies to “stay”, while at the same time getting the dogs’ attention focused on the camera. Grown adults danced, jumped, clapped, threw balls and squeezed squeaky toys to get the perfect expression.

When puppy walker Shelagh Glynn was asked to bring her Labrador, Zeal, to Kings School to be photographed as Miss December, she thought it would be over within half an hour. Two hours later, Shelagh was amazed at the huge effort that had gone into getting that perfect shot.

“When you look at the calendar you think they’re just photos, but once you’ve been behind the scenes you realise what has gone into it.

"It was amazing; the patience of the photographer and the versatile sounds she came out with to get their attention, not to mention the strange positions she had to get into to shoot the dogs from the correct angle!”

The 2003 New Zealand Events Calendar features not only the traditional guide dogs and puppies, but gives mention to events happening throughout the country in 2003.

From the ‘Balloons over Waikato Festival’ held in April each year, to the ‘Southland Seafood and Bluff Oyster Festival’ held in May, approximately 250 New Zealand events are included in next years calendar along with adorable shots of the guide dogs themselves.

A pack of ten Christmas cards cost $7.95 and calendars sell for $24.95 (inclusive of postage, packaging and GST) with all proceeds from sales going towards supporting blind and vision-impaired New Zealanders.

Calendars and Christmas cards are available from bookstores nation-wide or may be purchased directly from the Foundation. Call 0800 PUPPIES (0800 787 743) or take a sneak preview and order online at http://

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