Dog goes quackers for pal

By Kiri Gillespie

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Meet Romeo and Juliet - a large boxer dog and a baby paradise duckling who are best mates.

It's an unlikely friendship that blossomed since a new-born Juliet was recently found upside down and near dead in an open farm paddock at Te Puna and brought to Heather Loughlin's Matua home.

Ms Loughlin said she found the unusual friendship hilarious.

"I have a giant boxer dog. He's huge, he could munch it in one go. He has dried duck treats normally, so ..."

Romeo's favourite toy was also a stuffed duck. But he remains gentle and inquisitive around his new friend, following her around the house and looking for her if she's not there.

Ms Loughlin said the feeling was mutual. "This one is taken with him. We will all be moving around but Romeo is the one she tries to find. She tries to follow him out his dog door, then she cries and screams because she can't go," Ms Loughlin said.

Juliet is sprightly, noisy, and about the size of an orange.

"She will shoot through the place if she hears Romeo."

Ms Loughlin is careful to keep Juliet away from Romeo for certain periods of time, to lesson the chance of the duckling imprinting on the dog and not being able to separate from him.

The plan is to nurse Juliet back to health and eventually release her back into the wild at the farm.

The duckling was found by Ms Loughlin's neighbour Lisa Herbert and her daughter Lydia, 11, who were visiting friends at the No 3 Rd property.

Ms Herbert said they figured Juliet was dropped by a hawk.

Lydia asked if they could take Juliet home to try to save her with Ms Loughlin's help.

"It's really nice and I'm glad she's not dead, that she's so alive and happy," Lydia said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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