“Pumpkin Pie is gone. Move on.”

So says the website of ReplaceThem, a new initiative launched by Pedigree wherein parents feeling the strain of an empty nest are being encouraged to adopt a dog instead.

“At this time of year thousands of Kiwi parents will be feeling the effects of seeing their children leave home for the first time as they head to university or to start work,” said Cormac van den Hoofdakker, spokesperson for the Pedigree Adoption Drive Charitable Trust. “There are also just as many rescue dogs in need of rehoming throughout New Zealand, we want to do all we can to bring them together.”

Psychologists say that the effects of an ‘empty nest’ should not be underestimated, with commonly seen anxiety and depression. A new pet dog can allow the empty nester to focus on something else. The Trust recommends that people choose dogs that have similar characteristics to their children, to make the transition easier.

“If a dog embodies characteristics of a family member; long hair, a type of physique, it could really feel like a great fit in the family.”

The campaign will run for a month, more info can be found at