Alfie is a Shih Tzu. Before I got him, he was abused as a puppy and was sadly left with spinal damage. This means he struggles to walk any distance and suffers from a limp – but it just makes me love him all the more.
Alfie loves life, cats and meeting new people, especially children. He travels around in his pram like a prince in his golden carriage!
He’s like a prince in his golden carriage!
I’m disabled myself and in pain most days, but he gives me a reason to get up and get out no matter how I’m feeling. I love the way he puts a smile on people’s faces when they see him. Alfie is so cute that everyone always notices my brave little star. He’s proved that you don’t have to be Marilyn Monroe to stop traffic!
I think it's important to start by saying I wasn't convinced about getting a dog. I had never had one before and was concerned about the commitment. I knew that if we had one, it would be our responsibility to meet all their needs and give them an amazing life, and that isn’t always easy. My wife, however, was sold on the idea, so I went along!
As it turns out, she was completely right – getting a dog was 100% the right decision for us. We found gorgeous Hope, a Border Collie working dog who hadn't quite made the grade on the farm. It didn’t take her long to become part of the family. The moment she saw all her new toys and comfy bed, she was instantly settled.
She tries to herd us around the house
I think she still has some of her old farm habits, because sometimes she tries to herd us around the house. If me and my wife are in separate rooms, she’ll flit between us until we’re all in the same place. She just wants our little family to be cuddled up together, which is why you'll normally find her sitting in-between me and my wife on the sofa.
She always greets me at the door when I finish work, even in the early hours. Hope has completed our family and I wouldn't change anything in the world about her.
Rocky is our fourth rescue dog. He is extremely mild-mannered and is friendly to every person and other dog he meets. He’s also very particular, and likes to go on a walk with each member of our family individually – which in fairness, has been a blessing in disguise during these lockdown months.
We live right beside a park – which he loves – but he has a mind of his own when it comes to which route we take to get there. Some days, he’ll go straight to the park and on others, he’ll lead us on a wild goose chase before we eventually get there.
Likes to go on walks with each of us individually
He loves to lie on the floor and have one of us lie down beside him and stroke him gently. He’s also very smart, and always knows what time of day it is – we think it’s so he can remind us that it’s time for his next walk!
With Rocky around, you’ll never be bored or miserable. He’s really made our house a home.
Anya is a sensitive, loving and intelligent Golden Cocker Spaniel who has been a part of our lives for five years now. She gives every family member their own special attention, but as my son’s hearing support dog, she’s also his best friend. Every morning she starts her day by jumping on his bed, trying to dig him out from under his duvet!
Offering more than just hearing support, Anya also provides him with unconditional love and friendship. She calls him down for dinner by entering his room, nudging him with her wet, black nose and then leading him downstairs. It’s very comforting to know that she’s always there to protect him, especially when he’s asleep at night. If the smoke alarm goes off, for example, she can wake him up and alert him to the danger.
She’ll be there to protect him
Anya loves her walks and, as a typical Spaniel, she loves to sniff out fox poo! Her favourite human foods are sausages and cheese – if you ever eat them in front of her, she always looks at you with the biggest brown eyes, trying to get you to share them. She also adores playing frisbee, always running after it and bringing it back for us to throw again.
She’s our first dog, and every day we are thankful for the love and support she gives us. Suffering from hearing loss can sometimes mean that people shy away from you, but with Anya around people are actually drawn to us.
When I look at her asleep on the sofa, I understand why dogs like to sleep a lot – it’s because when they’re awake, they devote all of their energy to looking after their humans.
Luna is an amazing dog, who’s not only changed our lives, but has also bought joy to so many other people as well. She visits our local hospital and meets patients in the stroke unit.
She has an uncanny knack of knowing who needs her most, snuggling up to them and placing her head near their hands so they can pet her. Sometimes, she’ll even lie on the bed next to them. She manages to bring a smile to all of the patients’ faces.
An uncanny knack of knowing who needs her most
Luna is a typical Labrador who loves food and sleeping upside down on the sofa. Swimming is one of her favourite sports, followed closely by running through muddy puddles until she’s completely soaked! She’s a very laid back dog, nothing seems to faze her, even the arrival of a crazy black Labrador puppy into the family.
Luna takes it all in her stride, and is truly a joy to be around.
I know it sounds so cliché but my dog Misty really is one in a million. She is so smart and intelligent. Sometimes I think she’s human! I have two young children at home and needed to find something to mentally and physically challenge her, so we took up trick training.
We had no previous experience but by the time she was 11 months old, she’d already achieved her novice, intermediate, advanced and expert trick dog titles. She knows more tricks than I can count! She’s also got her silver good citizen award and is working towards her gold.
Misty stares straight into your soul
She’s such a brilliant family dog. She always knows when I’m down and will nuzzle her face into me to cheer me up. My children were arguing the other day over a toy and she jumped on the sofa, picked up the toy and brought it to me.
I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She brings everyone so much happiness. I know dogs don’t like direct eye contact but Misty stares straight into your soul! She has such mesmerising eyes.