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OUSA support dog Ella image

Ella is retiring from her role as OUSA support dog.

She’s been a great source of comfort for many students having a ruff day, but now Ella the support dog is leaving behind her day job, ready for more lazy, sunny days.

Ella the Labrador interviewed for her position at Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) in 2019. She was hired by Student Support immediately, signing her contract with a paw print later that day.

“We will miss having Ella as an integral part of our team,” OUSA Student Support manager Dwaine Tait says.

“Ella is one of the longest standing staff members at Student Support and has been here through highs and lows of the past few years.”

Quickly becoming the glue which held the team together, Ella was greatly appreciated by staff and students alike.

“It was amazing to watch her work with students on a daily basis,” Dwaine says.

“She could change the energy of any given situation with her presence.”

One of her unique talents was intuitively knowing when a student needed a little bit of extra attention, or showing up at the right time without invitation, sensing someone who needed a gentle doggy nuzzle.

Ella also provided a lot of solace to students who missed their own family pets.

“It is difficult for many students who are away from home for their first time and away from family pets. Ella was able to fill that void for them.”

Ella is 80+ in doggy years, well past pension age and ready to retire. She plans on spending more time with her feline friend, Fred.

OUSA hosted a leaving morning tea for Ella earlier this week and she was farewelled by many.

The idea for having a support dog stemmed from conversations between several canine loving advocates in 2019, and the role was soon established. It is yet to be determined if Ella will have a successor, but any friendly and enthusiastic dogs are welcome to apply. Woof!

A poem to remember her by:

E – enormous heart

L – love

L – more love

A – advocacy (puppy style)

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