Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

All three driving dogs find homes

The SPCA's world famous driving dogs have all been adopted by the animal trainers who taught them their new tricks.

Porter, Monty and Ginny made headlines after they became the first dogs in the world to drive a car - a specially rigged Mini which they drove on a racetrack.

News of their exploits went viral online and featured on the Late Show with David Letterman in the United States.

SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin said they had been "inundated" with offers to adopt beardie cross Porter, giant schnauzer cross Monty and beardie whippet cross Ginny.

But they decided to give them to the trainers from Animals On Q who spent eight weeks teaching them to drive.

Ms Kalin said trainers Mark Vette, Jazmin Vette-Dal Bello and Rosie Miles were caring people who had formed strong and obvious bonds with each dog.

"Our mission is always to find the best possible home for every animal and we are convinced the trainers will provide excellent homes where Monty, Porter, and Ginny will get all the love, stimulation and healthy exercise they need to live very happy lives indeed."

Mr Vette says all three dogs were "in dog heaven" in their new homes.

Monty now lives with Mr Vette on his farm in Waimauku with "a pack of great dogs" - most of which have also been adopted from SPCA.

"Together they play for hours in the numerous ponds, paddocks, and forests.

"Monty has become an awesome companion and is even taking on the role of watchdog, although he is all bark and no bite.

"He follows me everywhere I go, normally with a stick or someone's shoe, some typical retriever-type traits that make them such entertaining dogs. He has a great nature and is very friendly with everyone who comes to meet him."

Ms Vette-Dal Bello, who adopted Porter, had a very strong bond with him from the get-go.

Porter now follows here wherever she goes, and he has grown close to rescue dogs Tuss and Senna, who had given him much more confidence.

He used to be fearful of loud noises but is now more relaxed. He continues to get behavioural training.

Ginny, who was adopted by Ms Miles and her long-time friend Heather Bridgford, now has the run of 16 acres of land with two friendly Dalmatians to play with.

She is curious, playful and affectionate and - like Porter - she had come out of her shell around other animals and people.

"All in all, this has been a fantastic success story that has proven on a world stage how animals that have had a difficult start in life can, with love, care, and attention, become beautiful and forgiving well-rounded companions," Ms Kalin said.

SPCA Auckland said there were still many more loving, smart and capable dogs waiting to be adopted at SPCA centres around the country.

- APNZ

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