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Why Debbie loves her dog Billie

Debbie Higginson lives on the Shore and is the proud owner of Billie, a Labrador Schnauzer cross. Growing up, Debbie had a wide range of family pets from rabbits to goats and turtles! Her parents used to show Samoyeds and she has fond memories of being taken around the country and playing with all sorts of puppies. Debbie says:  “When our last pet Harry the border collie died, my husband and I said we would have no more pets. However, I so missed the company and activities of having a dog that, as a compromise, I persuaded him to let me have a cat, Frankie. She is a wild, grumpy tortie not the sweet lap cat I was hoping for. So after a few more months, and a lot more persuasion, we went to Tauranga and brought home Billie."

Courtney Bennett: What do you like about animals?
Debbie Higginson:
The joy you get from owning an animal. With Billie I have never-ending love, attention, big brown eyes and no complaints. There is also the social aspect of dog owning, as we walk twice a day and meet all sorts of people and other dog owners. We often go to different dog parks on the weekend - Waiatarua, Meola Reef, Three Kings and Saunders Reserve. Our cat Frankie, well, she is entertaining and best mates with Billie and when she wants affection, she’ll let you know!

CB: Tell us about Billie?
DH: Billie is nearly two and is known as the cartoon dog.  She loves playing with dogs of all sizes and is happiest when at our local park playing with her friends.  In the morning, we have a social start to the day, often meeting Wilson who is a big goofy black lab, Badger, Billie’s current best buddy who loves to play, Tami the Golden Retriever and Brandy, who doesn’t want to play with the others but loves her ball.  
Billie goes to Dog HQ three time a week as Joe and I work full time.  None of our other dogs have ever had this and they definitely missed out.  I believe Dog HQ has helped Billie develop into a social butterfly and enabled us to own a dog even while working full time.   We also go to the North Shore Dog Training Club in Greenhithe for obedience training once a week, which is great mental stimulation.  I think Billie is much better at obedience training than me.

CB: What are Billie’s favourite hobbies?
Chase with the cat, but the cat always wins! Walking in the park or bush, and running along the beach. She also loves stealing other dogs' balls and getting them to chase her. 

CB: What are the best areas to take your dogs on the Shore in your opinion?
Sanders Reserve, Unsworth Reserve, Tuff Crater, Browns Bay beach - there are so many options.

CB: Is the North Shore a pet-friendly place?
The North Shore is a great place to have pets. There are plenty of parks and beaches to play on, and most people on the Shore are pet-friendly. The only thing I think it lacks is a fenced dog park like Meola, I would love to see one locally. We do have Sanders Reserve, however this seems to be a well-kept secret.

CB: Always pick up the doggy dos?
Always, no exceptions. There should be nasty fines for people who do not clean up after their dogs.

CB: What’s your view of animals on social media? Eg: having their own page on Facebook or Instagram account.
I love seeing Billie on Facebook playing at DogHQ, however I don’t think I could be bothered having a dedicated page.  However, it's always entertaining to watch other animal's antics!

CB: I wouldn’t be without Billie because…
She is part of my family, my best friend and makes us better people. 

by Courtney Bennett