For the love of animals: Dogs, cats and chooks!

Kura Heritage Collections Online is a treasure trove of photos of every subject imaginable. We thought you might like to see a selection of lovely images of people and their pets. What do you find interesting about these photographs? Is it the animals, the people, the history or the fascinating reflection of our lives?

Image: Pat Reynolds. Children in a landscape, Whitford, ca 1965. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Footprints 03855.

Kids and dogs go together like Weetbix and milk. Can you imagine the fun this lot must have had, racing up and down the hills with that long-legged dog? (We think it might be an English Pointer.) 

Image: W. A. Austin. Cat on show, Papatoetoe, 1971. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Footprints 08674.

This must have been one of the grandest and fluffiest cats in the country in 1971, let alone Franklin! Surely that expression is simply due to irritation at the paparazzi’s adoration. Shohala Dior was voted the most popular cat in the show. 

Image: Russell Middlebrook. A boy with a dog on his back, 1933. J.T. Diamond Collection. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-04A-01151-1.

Now that’s the way to travel! This dog seems very relaxed on his young playmates back. If you think the weatherboard building behind them looks a little bit like a schoolhouse, you’d be right. It’s the original school for the Piha Mill settlement.

Image: Jessie Gunson. Cat and kitchen, Totara Park, 1939. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Footprints 03184.

Even in the kitchen of a big house, with more ovens than you could shake a stick at, the cat is always welcome. This is just one of a series from Lady Jessie Gunson’s album ‘Around My Home’ which shows Totara Park homestead in the 1930s.

Image: Standard III class, Papatoetoe, 1928. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Footprints 06227.

Can you spot the feline student in this class? I’ll wager he doesn’t do his homework and is always on the wrong side of the classroom door!

Image: Tomoana Full-Feed dog crackers stand, New Zealand National Dog Trials Championship, about 1968. Westfield Collection. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, NZMS-1803-00108-21.

Back in the day dog trials were a major event in New Zealand. Remember when they had a regular spot on TV? They were nail-bitingly tense for many viewers, watching the dogs wrangle those frustratingly crafty sheep!

Image: Pet Day at Waitakere School, 1931. J.T. Diamond Collection. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-15K-04531.

Do you remember the excitement of pet day at your school? You can tell Waitakere School was rural by the children’s choice of animals. What an exciting day it must have been!

Image: Neil Barr with his aunt and puppies at Beresford, southern Kaipara Harbour. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JMB0144

Puppies are adorable, there’s no other word for it. This dog and her pup are at ‘Beresford’ farm in Rodney, now Gibbs Farm. Let’s guess what they named the puppy… 

Image: Pet day, Tuakau Primary School, 1979. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, Footprints 00226.

These kids with a pet chicken are posing just for fun, just what the photographer was looking for! This 1979 photo is from the Franklin Courier collection. Isn’t it a great shot? 

Image: Woman and pet dogs floating on air mattress, Laingholm Bay, 1920s. J.T. Diamond Collection. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-09K-04397-2.

Soggy dogs on a Li-Lo! Air mattresses have been around for a while, this lady is enjoying a lovely summer’s day at Laingholm Bay with her pups. This isn’t a Li-Lo though, they weren’t invented until the late 1940s. 

Image: Frank Morris. Three kittens in a pot, 1930s. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, FMO-0168-P.
Image: Frank Morris. Kitten in a pottery jug, 1930s. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, FMO-0169-P.

The marvel of something so tiny and so cute is eternal it seems. Putting tiny kittens in Very Small Things and taking photos of them has never gone out of style.  

Image: C.P. Dawes. Girl and kitten, 1910s. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 1572-1647.

I can’t imagine those Shirley Temple curls will last long! This girl in her pretty dress holding her kitten has a mischievous look about her! 

Image: Jack Gyde. Two men and a dog on the back of a ute, c1958. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 931-002.

This photo is titled ‘Two men and a dog on the back of a ute’. Pretty clear don’t you think? And so quintessentially Kiwi. Even if you grew up in the city it’s still part of the nostalgic identity of New Zealanders. Without dogs by our side where would New Zealand be?

Author: Liz Bradley, Research West