OUTSIDE OF THE NORM
Central Otago value: Embracing diversity
Central Otago is a magnet for diversity. People make a conscious decision to live in what is often a challenging environment. For the Real Dog Company’s owners, Rose and Nigel, they appreciate that what they do is outside the norm. They also appreciate that the community welcomed them so readily.
Sled dog tours are something that is so different, but everyone supports us. The die-hard farmers with their working dogs – well, the number of them that have had their wives shout them trips to come out with the dogs – let’s just say, it’s quite a tally now. They appreciate the sled dogs are working dogs too and there’s a mutual respect there.
INTEGRITY REWARDED TENFOLD
Central Otago value: Having integrity
Everything about Central Otago is open and honest: the landscape, the people, even the weather is straightforward. The Real Dog Company was founded on integrity and that core value has not changed from Day Dot.
People from elsewhere have this belief that, if you live in this area, you’re good people. You wouldn’t want to let them down. The materials we use are probably way over the top, but we wanted to stand behind the product and say ‘this will never break’ and know it’s true. As we’ve built up the business, that stance has come back to rewards us, tenfold.
EDUCATION ALONGSIDE BUSINESS
Central Otago value: Making a difference
Rose and Nigel are so much a part of the Maniototo now, that their community feels as proud of their business as they do, themselves. They like to think they repay that loyalty in a unique way.
Locals are always bringing visitors along for a look. It’s great. We have play centres and primary schools ringing and asking to visit. We never charge. They bring their lunch and, while they’re sitting around, we bring out a dog. They get to touch it and learn about dogs. People ask if we can help with a child that’s terrified of dogs. Yes, we can. By the time that child leaves our place, they are no longer afraid and you know you’ve made a huge difference to that child’s life.