Lots of labrador love in the Manawatu, New Zealand



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    UPDATE 16th June 2024: Renovations have begun on this very unique and special property that is being converted into dog paradise! Workawayers arriving after September 2024 may find it most comfortable to have self-contained vehicles or may wish to camp (tent and bedding can be provided if needed) due to the constant changing nature of the project here. If you are not self-contained or do not wish to camp, ask me about the status of accommodations for when you'd like to stay.

    **Ideal Workawayers are self-motivated, take pride in their work, are outgoing, caring and sociable.**

    Learn what it takes to raise and live with a large number of dogs -- feeding, caring for, training and even designing the environment around them!

    Mid 2024 will see this property (including a 120 year old villa, barns and more) being renovated and converted into a one-of-a-kind fabulous place for dogs!

    While skilled contractors handle the big tasks, Workawayers can lend a helping hand or watch and learn as they design and renovate this 120+ year old property, all the while helping to keep 13 dogs happy, healthy and safe.

    If being around a whole pack of slobbering, cuddly Labradors, each with their own personality and quirks, sounds like your kind of heaven, please come join us!

    I moved to New Zealand from the USA several years ago. In 2022 I purchased and moved to the most stunning property for my dogs and I -- 40 acres in the Manawatu with towering trees, flowers, ponds, a gorgeous meandering stream and views of the snow-capped mountains in the winter! The dogs think it is paradise and I kind of agree with them.

    I have a flock of "the world's cutest sheep" that help with the lawn-mowing and then I have a WHOLE BUNCH of Labrador dogs that are my 24/7 passion.

    My favourite thing to do with my dogs is to see how they can impact the lives of others. Whether it is a smile on an elderly person's face, a memory brought back to a dementia patient, a couple's first fur-baby or an autistic child who opens their arms to a new best friend. My past Workawayers have fallen in love with my dogs. I bet you will too.

    The ability to brighten the lives of others through dogs is an amazing feeling. I secretly believe there is nothing that a Labrador can't do! They are always amazing me, making me smile and laugh.

    Come see for yourself! Not only will the dogs etch themselves into your heart but you may learn a thing or two as well about dogs while you are here!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    While I am not a native-born kiwi, I understand first hand what it is like to be away from your homeland and be in a new country. I love to share what I've learned about Kiwi life and compare/contrast it to American life and then learn how that compares to OTHER cultures.

    There aren't many places where you can live with 13-50 dogs at any given time and learn a great deal about what goes into raising healthy and happy dogs, from newborn through old age. You will learn a lot about how dogs communicate and how having multiple dogs compares to having a single dog in the household. I am happy to share what I've learned on this journey of raising and training hundreds of dogs during my lifetime!

  • Help


    Come be a part of focusing a whole property around dogs!

    Most of the work will involve helping to keep the dogs and their environment happy, healthy and clean.

    My dogs live with me and so that mostly involves typical household-type chores... vacuuming, mopping & dusting... with some occasional more "spring cleaning" type activities thrown in (cleaning nose and paw prints off windows, gardening, filling dug holes, etc.).

    Dogs generate a lot of hair, dirt, and dust so there is always cleaning to be done. When I have puppies, there is a bit more! There is also some poop scooping/doggy clean up but not as much as you might think as my dogs don't live in kennels.

    You will also get to play with and cuddle Labradors of all ages.

    Spending one-on-one time with my labs is an important part of each day. This may include teaching the dogs some basic training commands (I can show you how), meeting up with other dogs on social outings, possibly therapy/comfort-related dog work, and reinforcing the dogs' learning through consistency. Many of them LOVE "beauty parlor day" (brushing, nail trimming) too.

    From mid 2024 onwards there will be skilled contractors onsite working to help me convert the property (including a 120 year old villa home) into a fabulous, exciting & safe place for dogs.

    I am more than happy for volunteers to stay long term!

    Thank you for understanding that smoking, vaping and your own pets are not permitted anywhere on the property at this time.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    Accommodation is currently in a 1904 villa with the dogs and I until August. You will have a private room with a comfy bed along with access to a full kitchen, laundry, and bathroom.

    During the 2nd half of the year, Workawayers may be most comfortable in their own self-contained vehicles or are welcome to camp (tent and bedding can be provided if needed). Facilities will be constantly changing and may be limited at times during the renovations.

    Because I'm a horrible cook (even though the dogs would say I do a GREAT job of preparing all of their meals!) I provide each Workawayer $75/week for food/spending so that they can buy/cook what they would like to eat during their stay.

    I am located rurally but less than 10kms from two different towns -- Norsewood & Dannevirke. We go to town most days so you are always welcome to come along if you need anything.

    I do not set specific help hours. A lot of the help is very flexible and can be done at any time throughout the day.

    Thank you for understanding that smoking, vaping and your own pets are not permitted anywhere on the property at this time.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The Manawatu is a very scenic part of New Zealand. Enjoy exploring Dannevirke and Norsewood as well as the hiking/trails in the region! Hawkes Bay is just an hour away where there are stunning beaches, great shopping and Te Mata peak for hiking. Cafes are PLENTIFUL in both Dannevirke so if you love your coffee, I know a great place!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have decent unlimited broadband access at the moment. Cell phone reception is good.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Plenty of room for self-contained vehicles.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Flexible. 5 hours per day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 445575398471

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