A Northlander is racing against time to publicly raise $15,000 in order to bring his companion dog from the Philippines to his lifestyle block in the Far North.
Graeme Fawcett opened a Givealittle page in April and as of yesterday, it had managed to raise $700 but substantially more is needed before the end of this year to avoid leaving the animal behind.
He rescued Nathan, a 7-year-old male black labrador cross, from an abusive owner when the dog was 9 months old and said there was no way he was going to abandon the dog in the Philippines.
Fawcett left Nathan in the care of people he knew in Takahue, about 20km south of Kaitaia and moved to Barobo, Surigao del Sur, Philippines around March 2017 to join his wife, whom he met online.
In October that year, he received an email from the Far North District Council which said Nathan had been abandoned.
Fawcett said Nathan was only saved from euthanasia because his microchip information included Fawcett's email address.
After Fawcett's plea to neighbours and relatives in New Zealand for help fell on deaf ears, he requested a boarding kennel in the Far North to collect Nathan and arranged for a pet transportation company to fly him over to the Philippines.
He is planning to move his family to Takahue in January next year in time for his 11-year-old stepson to start school.
"I was shocked and dismayed to learn the requirements of bringing Nathan back to New Zealand would take up to eight months at an estimated cost of $15,000 New Zealand dollars," Fawcett said.
"This amount is far beyond my means as I only receive 50 per cent of my married NZ Superannuation entitlement because I am living overseas.
"The alternatives are to leave him here but, believe me, the Philippines isn't a good place for a dog, or have him put to sleep."
He said the bulk of the estimated cost would go towards testing his dog for rabies, an infectious viral disease, and then he must spend six months in an approved, rabies-free country.
"We need donations urgently to ensure Nathan can return to his home on my lifestyle block in the Far North. Failing this, he will have to be put to sleep as leaving him here alone in the Philippines would be callous and cruel.''
Fawcett said any surplus, or if things didn't go to plan, would be donated to the SPCA.