Meet lockdown Lola, the rescue pup enjoying her new apartment lifestyle

A woman sitting on the floor with a dog

This SPCA puppy brings joy to its owners and an entire ballet company. She’s now enjoying a happy life after being rescued from a bin in Kāpiti.

Patricia Barker’s puppy didn’t have the best start in life. She was found with six of her siblings in a rubbish bin on the Kāpiti Coast.

Patricia, a former ballet dancer, who moved to Wellington from the US in 2017 for her job as artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB), met Lola at Paekakariki Beach with her American husband, Michael Auer, also a former ballet dancer. “Lola was being walked by her SPCA foster family and we fell in love with her,” says Patricia.

The couple started tossing up the idea of adopting the boxer-cross puppy.

“We weren’t sure if our Cuba Street apartment would be suitable for a dog or if she’d cope with the elevator.”

But they couldn’t get Lola out of their minds, so just before going into lockdown, the couple picked her up.

“She came with the name Princess but that didn’t suit her at all. While Skyping my niece in Seattle, we were discussing names and she suggested Lola, and the puppy immediately responded. We actually call her Lockdown Lola.”

It turns out lockdown was the best time to adopt a puppy, with both Patricia and Michael at home and free to train their bundle of white fluff.

“Glover Park is close by. We refer to it as ‘petting park’ because there’s a bar where the patrons rush out to pat Lola.”

Once lockdown ended, Patricia started taking Lola to the RNZB studio.

“All the dancers love her and take her for walks. Having Lola around the studio is great for everyone’s mental health.”

When Lola’s at home, she likes to stretch out on one of the apartment’s three decks, watching the street below. “Lola likes to know what’s going on in the neighbourhood but seldom barks.”


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