As thousands of New Zealanders enjoy camping holidays this summer, one Whanganui woman is not enjoying the experience.

Helen (not her real name) says she has no alternative but to camp with her pets after losing her rented home late last year.

"I had been renting a cottage on a lifestyle block in Hunterville but the property was sold and the new owners wanted to renovate the dwelling."

The 64-year-old has rescued many unloved pets during her lifetime and while most have been rehomed, some were living with her and have become her own loved pets.

Advertisement

"I have given away two cats and a couple of goats but I still have three cats, one medium-sized and one small dog and one goat."

Danny the goat may yet be rehomed but Helen wants to keep him with her if she can because she has had him since he was a "runty little kid".

"I consider them to be my family and I was upset when a WINZ case worker said I should ask the SPCA to take them."

Danny the goat offers a friendly welcome while Bully and Minty play at the campsite. Photo/Bevan Conley
Danny the goat offers a friendly welcome while Bully and Minty play at the campsite. Photo/Bevan Conley

Camping can be fun says Helen but having to use a bucket as a toilet is not and when she does her ablutions she is usually accompanied by dogs Bully and Puppa and at least two cats.

"I have a good sense of humour and while I can laugh at some aspects of my situation, I don't want to be living like this for too long."

She has looked for suitable accommodation throughout the Whanganui region and beyond.

"I take good care of my pets and they don't cause damage to property but letting agencies seem to all have strict no pet policies.

"At the few properties, I've looked at where pets are allowed, the rents were way too expensive for me."

Advertisement
A homeless animal rescuer is making the best of her situation but needs to find suitable accommodation for herself and her pets. Photo/Bevan Conley
A homeless animal rescuer is making the best of her situation but needs to find suitable accommodation for herself and her pets. Photo/Bevan Conley

Helen says she is on a waiting list for a Housing New Zealand rental but is not considered a high priority.

"I know there are families needing homes but I do have health issues and I need shelter.

"Camping is okay when the weather is fine but it is miserable being in a tent when it rains."

She says she also feels quite vulnerable and some of her possessions have been stolen from her campsite including a camp cooker and tools.

"They were taken while I was away at a friend's place where I go to have a shower.

"The cooker was new and I can't afford to replace it so I have to cook on an open fire."

The police are aware of her situation and make regular checks on her wellbeing.

Helen hopes that someone has a vacant place she can rent and says she is reliable and trustworthy with excellent references.

"I will be happy with a shack or caravan in the middle of a paddock as long as it is affordable for me and provides me with shelter."

She has experience in caring for livestock as well as pets and says she could be a great help to a farming family who may have an empty dwelling on their property.