Meet Elaine Dingle and Millie - the real life inspiration for our new ad 'Magic Moments'. Elaine's story will tug at your heartstrings even more than the ad!
Elaine was one of a group of residents who went to the SPCA, along with diversional therapist Deborah Watts, to choose a cat for one of Oceania’s rest homes in Hawkes Bay.
"I knew Elaine liked cats as she used to have one called Pinkie and she has Pinkie’s photograph in her room," says Deborah. "When I suggested she come and help us choose a cat, she was the first to put her name on the list for the trip.”
"Once we got there it was a hard choice to make. We chose Millie as she was gentle, and Elaine particularly liked her, as she looked like a cat Elaine used to have, called Tiddlums." Elaine was in a wheelchair after a fall at home, which led to a hospital stay and then a move to a rest home.
"She wasn’t very social or inclined to join in," says Deborah. "Elaine wanted to spend most of her time in her wheelchair, in her room." Two days after adopting the cat, Elaine got up and began to learn to walk again. "Until then, she simply didn’t want to," says Deborah. "Now, with the aid of our physiotherapist, she’s working hard and she’s really motivated. We can’t believe it, it’s beautiful."
Elaine, who grew up as part of a large family of children and stepchildren in Hastings but never married or had her own children, says she has always loved animals, especially cats.
"I had to give Pinkie away after I went into hospital, as I just couldn’t manage her. They become part of the family. It was lovely to be able to get Millie from the SPCA and give her a good home. She comes around every day and I have a cuddle. It’s not often enough though.
I’d like to have her in my room all the time but she’s a busy cat with lots of people to visit. I want to walk by myself and I can go and visit her instead." It’s been hard work to get back on her feet, Elaine says.
"But I am glad I did. Everyone here helps so much. If you’ve got determination, you can do anything," Elaine says.