ANZAC Day: Dog's death brings more sadness

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It's a day that stirs the emotions for many New Zealanders, but the Anzac holiday period is particularly tough on Lance Corporal Sammie Tapara.

Two years ago she lost her partner, 21-year-old Private Te Tahuna Daniel Tahapeehi, when he was killed in a traffic accident the day after Anzac Day. His motorbike collided with a car outside Linton Military Base, where he was stationed, near Palmerston North.

His death followed the 2010 Anzac Day helicopter crash. Three crewmen died when their Iroquois helicopter hit a hill at Pukerua Bay, about 40km north of Wellington.

On Friday night last week, Ms Tapara had to put down her 4-year-old black labrador Girl after she was hit by a speeding car outside her house in Greerton Rd.

Girl had been Mr Tahapeehi's pet, which Ms Tapara had looked after since he died.

She will bury the dog's ashes at her partner's grave site on his anniversary this week.

"I lost my partner two years ago. His anniversary is Thursday and that was his dog. So it wasn't good timing.

"I get her ashes in a couple of days and I'm going to bury her with Tahz.

"I've had her since she was a pup really. People say it's just a dog but it's still part of the family," she said.

Ms Tapara said drivers used her street as a shortcut to beat traffic on Cameron Rd, with boy racers and speeding drivers hooning past her house daily.

Girl became the first victim of the speeding drivers, she said, but she worried about the children living on the street, including her son to Mr Tahapeehi, Arikirau.

"She must have got out - I wasn't mad at that, them hitting her. That was my fault that she got out. But it was them speeding off [that angered me]," she said.

"I've got a two-and-a-half year-old boy. It's scary because if he runs out for some reason - to chase a ball or something - he'd have no chance really."

Ms Tapara said the 35kg dog would have done damage to the vehicle that struck her, dragging the dog up the road as it braked, before again speeding off.

"We heard brakes screeching and then yelping for a while. [We went outside and] all our neighbours were walking around the street. They said someone's hit a dog and dragged it. I think she would have done a lot of damage to the car as well because she was a big dog," she said.

"I'd just like more speed bumps down this area. We've all got kids here."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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