Young Greta Severinsen's relationship with Patch proves that a dog really can be a human's best friend.
The 6-year-old based in Timaru fell in love with Taradale resident Janet Gichard's dog Patch via photos and newspaper clippings sent by her nana Gerry Benfell two years ago.
Despite not having met the shih tzu dog, Greta's love blossomed when she decided to write a story for school about him being dressed up in an art deco styled outfit.
"He looked so cool in the paper dressed like that," she said.
These school holidays Greta was treated to a big surprise when for the first time met her beloved dog friend Patch.
Ms Gichard said when she heard her doorbell ring she got Patch all ready for their first live encounter.
"I opened the door and all I could see was Greta beaming from ear to ear, they loved each other instantly."
Greta said she couldn't stop smiling when she saw him and he was just what she thought he would be.
"He jumped up on me and I was so excited. We played together and went for walks, I like that he is so playful and friendly, he loves lots of people," Greta said.
Mrs Benfell said it was amazing watching Greta's face light up when she met Patch for the first time.
"She didn't know where I was taking her and when we got to the house she asked if she should stay in the car or not but she decided to get out and when the door opened she just yelled out 'Patch!' It was so cute."
The duo had morning tea together and Patch sat right next to Greta at the table while she ate her pikelets.
"Wherever she was, he was, it was gorgeous."
Greta's grandad Neil Benfell said when he saw the photos afterward he couldn't tell who was more delighted, Greta or Patch.
"I heard they had a great time together and it definitely looked like they did," Mr Benfell said.
Greta went back to Timaru on Wednesday but said she definitely wanted to see Patch again.
"It was really cool and I was so happy I could finally meet him."