Meet a pooch with plenty of panache living in a 1920s Palmerston North bungalow

A woman on a motorbike with a dog

When a Palmerston North realtor met a pooch with panache, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.

“She chose me,” says Deborah Quin about her shih tzu-poodle cross, Mary-Mavis.

The Palmerston North real estate agent wasn’t actively looking for a dog five years ago, but after recovering from breast cancer and a double mastectomy, she thought a puppy might be a good distraction.

“My sons had left home and I looked at my partner at the time and said, ‘It’s just the two of us rattling around in this house – we need another heartbeat.’”

Deborah, who grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Hamilton, had always been in the camp that believes dogs are for work only and should live outside.

“But I was tootling around Trade Me and spotted Mary-Mavis. She was the last of the litter and hadn’t been adopted because she has tricoloured ears, which is apparently undesirable for her breed.”

When Deborah met Mary-Mavis, the eight-week-old puppy started following her around. “She wouldn’t leave my side, so of course I had to take her home.”

Home is now a 1920s bungalow, which Deborah bought three years ago. A lover of luxury furniture and brands, Deborah has nicknamed Mary-Mavis “Miu Miu”, after the Italian fashion house.

“Mary-Mavis was a combination of my mother and my former partner’s mother’s names. But, like me, she enjoys the finer things in life, so Miu Miu suits her.” But Deborah isn’t precious about her house. “Mary-Mavis is allowed on the furniture and often sleeps on my bed. It helps that she doesn’t moult.”

The pair are rarely apart, and though Mary-Mavis is unable to accompany Deborah on her Harley-Davidson Street 500 – “a total spur-of-the-moment purchase but the best thing I’ve ever bought” – she goes to work with her.

“Mary-Mavis has become the Harcourts Palmerston North mascot and will sit in the window, saying hello to everyone who walks by. She adores my colleagues and has brought me so much happiness, I couldn’t be without her.”

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