The beneficiaries were nowhere to be seen, but there was no shortage of customers for pāua in cream and soup, with fried bread, at Switzer Residential Care in Kaitaia last week.

Staff organised the fundraiser to boost the pet care kitty, the current muster comprising six cats, two budgies and four fish, with a white elephant stall in the board room also contributing to the cause.

Animals are an important part of the Eden Alternative, adopted by the home some years ago as part of the philosophy that residents should enjoy an environment that is as close to their own homes as a rest home can be, but the current star is a regular visitor as opposed to a resident himself.

Zoulou (Portuguese for black, or very dark), is an 8-month-old Maltese/poodle (Maltipoo), a birthday present from Donna (Dolittle) Badorek to her mother, Switzer HR manager Jacqueline Trinder-Da Costa, who as often as not arrives at work with him in tow.

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He has gained a reputation for not being especially enamoured of the staff or residents in general, but displays a marked affinity with those living in the secure unit, showing affection that is very much reciprocated.