Kiwi dog left in India after filming $2.5m taxpayer-funded Lotto ad

December 19th, 2010 - 3:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Wellington, Dec 19 (ANI): Wilson the Lotto dog, star of a 2.5-million-dollar taxpayer-funded advertisement in which he travels the world to return a winning ticket to his master, has been left in India after the ad shoot.

Reason: Quarantine rules that made it difficult to get him back to New Zealand.

The exile, however, has ended well for the dog - he enjoyed five-star hotel treatment during filming before being given a home with his own personal servant, reports The New Zealand Herald.

The advertisement was filmed by advertising agency DDB and has won hearts after being launched on World Animal Day.

Lotto spokeswoman Karen Jones said the decision not to bring the dog, whose real name is Paddy, back to New Zealand was based around the quarantine requirements involved.

She said Paddy faced spending up to a year in quarantine before being allowed to run free in New Zealand.

“We weren’t willing to do that to a dog. We would have pulled the plug on the India shoot if we couldn’t guarantee the welfare of our animal star. Dog welfare, for us, was paramount,” she added.

Paddy’s journey to India and his new home show the seriousness with which the commission considered his welfare.

Animal handler Caroline Girdlestone said Paddy was driven between locations in an air-conditioned car and stayed in five-star hotels.

At the end of filming, Girdlestone and husband James Delaney escorted Paddy to Bangalore where they met his new family - an ex-pat Kiwi couple with three boys.

They stayed there for two days, building a fence around the property and discussing ways to settle the dog into his new life in India.

“He has a maid of his own so he is never alone. He was the little dog who won Lotto,” said Girdlestone. (ANI)

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