The heart-warming generosity of a New Plymouth woman and her caregiver is helping raise funds for the New Zealand Police Dog Charitable Trust.
With support from her mum Louise and caregiver Tamzin Bezuidenhout, police dog fan Natalya Manton has been making delicious dog treats to sell, with all proceeds going to the Trust.
Natalya is a massive fan of the popular TV show Dog Squad and was inspired to raise money for the trust after hearing about the incident where police dog Kosmo was stabbed in Christchurch, in 2018.
“It is my favourite show and when I heard about Kosmo and his handler Regan, I did some research and found out about the Trust," says Natalya.
“I wanted to do something to help them and Police, so Tamzin and I discussed some ideas and we decided on making dog treats to help raise money.
“We wanted to check with the local police to ensure we followed the correct processes, so we visited the New Plymouth station and passed on our contact details, then waited to hear back.”
It wasn’t long before Taranaki Dog Section Supervisor Sergeant Max Spedding contacted Natalya.
“I was very inspired by Natalya’s efforts and enthusiasm to help out the trust," says Max. “When I spoke with the rest of our local handlers, they were very keen to help any way they could.
“After doing some checks with our Dog Training Centre, Taranaki dog handlers Senior Constables Cam Davies and Al Munro, and myself met with Natalya and spent a few hours talking with her about Police Dog Section and her admirable efforts.”
The treats, bags of bliss balls and dog bone biscuits, are funded by Louise with Natalya and Tamzin making them and spreading the word about their fundraising through flyers and signs. All the ingredients are listed on the posters and packaging.
Currently, Natalya is selling the treats through her family and friends network but she has also had a stall outside her local Warehouse.
Her goal was to raise $1,000 and she has already achieved just over that amount.
“I love all animals, especially German Shepherds, and I really wanted to help in I could in any way," says Natalya.
“The Police Dog Section does such important work for our community and Al, Cam, and Max are awesome guys.
“They have been super supportive of what Tamzin and I are doing and Al has also introduced me to his dog, Shaq, who I am very fond of.
“We are going to present a cheque to Max for the Trust and we will keep going to raise more money.”
Tamzin says she feels blessed to be part of it.
“I have been caring for Natalya during the day for six months now and I can see how much she cares about this," she says. "It's amazing to reach our fundraising goal.”
To find out more about the vital work of the NZ Police Dog Trust, including how to donate, visit their website.