Three puppies found dumped near the Tutaekuri River, near Napier, have made progress in leaps and bounds and are now ready to be adopted.
The 6-month-old, mixed breed puppies were found in mid October by a member of the public on the riverbank near the Guppy Rd Accessway.
At the time they weighed half the size typical of a puppy their age and were so small, Napier SPCA staff initially thought they were three months old, canine attendant Kristina Kenah said.
"[They were] very skinny, so skinny we thought they were three months old but the vet said they were six months old."
She said all three puppies had flourished into cute little characters with unique personalities.
The puppies have been cared for by fosterer Naomi Ruru and her father Jim Ruru, who said the puppies were very shy of humans at first.
"If we walked into a room, they would run off," he said.
"Most of the time, when a pup is like that, their interactions with people have not been very good."
Having spent the past two years taking in puppies for the SPCA, he said they weren't in the worst condition he'd seen, but were "pretty close".
But several weeks of patience and waiting for the pups to come to them had paid off.
He said it would be hard to part with them, especially Angel, who was the first dog to come to him.
"They've got really lovely natures."
Kenah said the puppies were now ready to find their permanent homes.
"It's a little like running a dating agency, matching dogs to families to get the perfect fit.
"I want to get it right first time too so everyone gets their happy ever after."
More information about the puppies can be found online at spca.nz/adopt