The future wasn't looking bright for Rico when he arrived in SPCA care in August.
The young dog, who Kaitaia SPCA manager Heather Smith had no doubt was part pitbull, with something else, possibly German pointer, thrown in, had problems with both ears, one of which was split while the other was damaged inside and out, but it was his lack of discipline that raised most concern.
Picked up at Kāeo, he was initially taken in by the SPCA in Kerikeri, but was transferred to Kaitaia, where there were fewer dogs and thus a better chance of reducing his anxiety.
Heather had no doubt that he had been a pig dog: "He was totally focused, with very high anxiety," she said.
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"In Kerikeri he was constantly pacing and barking, but he's improved almost beyond recognition since a dog trainer has been working with him.
Wendy Graydon, who had previously been in the Bay of Islands, had arrived in Kaitaia unexpectedly, and was getting some extraordinary results," she said. Rico, who she believed was about two years old, had improved so much that he was now up for adoption, no one having claimed him, and while he would need plenty of room and exercise, and regular reminders of who was in charge, his future was looking good.
He was still full of beans on Tuesday, even after a long walk in pouring rain, but displayed perfect manners when he was offered a treat.
"I'm sure he's got some gun dog in him," Heather added.
"He has an incredible nose.
He had shown a younger dog at the centre that he had senior status, and she wouldn't trust him with cats, but was well and truly ready for the right home.
Meanwhile the new kitten season has begun in Kaitaia, Heather saying she was currently bottle-feeding five two-week-old-kittens born to a feral mother, and two pregnant cats were currently in residence.