Murray and Frodo find new home

By Roger Moroney

2 comments
Murray Wittinghton and his hearing service dog Frodo pack up ready for the move into their new flat in Taradale. Photo / Warren Buckland
Murray Wittinghton and his hearing service dog Frodo pack up ready for the move into their new flat in Taradale. Photo / Warren Buckland

Napier man Murray Whittington, who is hearing disabled and has struggled to find a new rental home for him and his service dog, has found a reason to smile again.

He has a new home to go to.

For the past couple of years Mr Whittington has been living under a cloud of uncertainty as he struggled to find somewhere affordable and where the rental company or landlord would allow him to keep his dog Frodo with him.

Mr Whittington said he had struck a series of dead ends as he tried to find somewhere to live after the owners of his former rental home, where he had lived for nearly 10 years, sold up.

While he had come across a string of suitable properties for him and his 10-year-old son Daniel, he continually hit the wall when it came to his hearing service dog Frodo. He said he had met with real estate agencies and private landlords but kept getting the "no dogs" message, and despite explaining that Frodo was a service dog who assisted him got no further.

He was told that finding a new place to live would be easier if he did not have Frodo - but that was never an option.

Mr Whittington caught German measles soon after he was born which took away the sight in one eye and about 80 per cent of his hearing. He said Frodo was valuable in alerting him to calls and callers and for general companionship.

Mr Whittington had tried several rental places listed on Trade Me but kept coming across the "no cats or dogs" tag. Which is what he was confronted with again over a listed property in Taradale but decided to make contact anyway.

"I called and asked if I could come and have a look, and said I had a service dog with me," he said. The landlords told him to call by. As he spoke with them in the kitchen, Frodo went to the back door and sat quietly looking at it, as if wanting to go out.

"So I got up and opened it and he went out down the grass section and had a little pee, and came back in."

That, and his friendly manner, led to the landlords simply saying "it's yours". They told him they had had issues with a previous tenant who had a large and boisterous dog but accepted Frodo straight away.

"I'm so happy - it's taken all the pressure off - we've got a new place to live and there's room for all of us."

Mr Whittington said his advice to anyone with a service dog who found it hard to find somewhere dog-friendly was "don't give in".

In a couple of weeks he will be travelling to Wellington to meet with Greens MP Mojo Mathers, who is also hearing impaired. She is preparing a bill to assist hearing disabled people with service dogs to not be penalised when it comes to accommodation.

The bill is currently in the ballot.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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