Gunner the dog hopes to find new home in New Zealand

Gunner the dog in Rarotonga (supplied)
Gunner the dog in Rarotonga (supplied)

Gunner the dog is hoping to find a new home over 3000km away.

When Sharon Routh was on holiday in Rarotonga she fell in love with the stray dog who hung out at the local cafe

"Anybody who gave him attention when they left, he was wanting to go with them. The cafe owner was about to ring the police to report him because it's obviously bad for the business," she says.

The owner explained to Ms Routh that within an hour of being picked up he was likely to be shot because of new police initiatives in dealing with stray dogs.

Ms Routh decided to take action and went to the local SPCA for help unfortunately they were full but have agreed to hold the dog temporarily for a week while he waits to be imported.

The Esther Honey Foundation, setup to support the Cook Islands' only veterinary clinic, stepped in to support the dog too.

Ms Routh spent the rest of her holiday with a new friend.

"A bit of kindness and that was it, he was my shadow. In fact I went kayaking one day and I got around about 150 metres from shore and there was Gunner swimming and struggling behind," she says.

Ms Routh's daughter set up a Givealittle page for Gunner, which has raised over $5000.

"I never really expected everybody to get behind it," she says.

"I thought it was a bit cheeky asking for people's help but maybe it's because a lot of people go to Rarotonga and see the dogs and would have liked to help themselves."

The name Gunner was chosen "on the spot", when the foundation needed to make a record of the dog. Ms Routh is an Arsenal Football Club fan, nicknamed the Gunners.

"Gunner was the first thing that came into my head. And then it kind of took off because everyone's like 'oh, he's gunner come to New Zealand'," she says.

A vet from the foundation is heading to Rarotonga on Sunday with a travel crate for Gunner. He will then be micro chipped and the process to import him will officially begin.

Ms Routh is unable to adopt Gunner herself because of a three dog limit at her property.

"I would've kept him in a heartbeat," she says.

Four people have come forward who are interested in adopting Gunner once he arrives in New Zealand, scheduled to be in the last weekend of November.

Ms Routh says Gunner is really "cruisey" and would be a great pet.

"He's gorgeous, he just wants to be with somebody."

You can donate Gunner's Givealittle page here, as well as his Facebook page.

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