My Cockapoo Amber has helped me to stay positive through the toughest times of my life. She came into our family when I was 16 and first started experiencing symptoms of my illness. She was only eight weeks old and quickly became my best friend, as I had to leave school and my life as I knew it began to fall apart.
It was almost two years later I was diagnosed with a life-limiting illness that left me housebound, in constant pain and extremely weak. At my lowest, Amber was the only thing that kept me going and the only thing that would make me smile. Whenever I got upset she would lick my tears away and stay by my side and when I was really unwell, she would scratch and cry at my door or do whatever she could to be with me. She was a constant source of comfort and made me feel so safe and less lonely.
She would lick away my tears
When nurses would come to visit me at home, they would always comment that Amber was always so close to me but she also instinctively knew when she needed to give me and the nurses space (although she was never too far away). They would often tell me that they’d always say they we’re going to see ‘Ellie and Amber’ because she never left my side. I’d spend months in hospital, and she would come and visit me. Having a cuddle and seeing her happy face was a massive boost. My heart would feel lighter whenever she would visit.
Without Amber I wouldn’t be here today. Last year I had surgery that thankfully gave me a second chance at life. I only got to that point because I wanted so desperately to take her for long walks or play with her in the garden again, she’s mad about tennis balls and loves to play fetch. The idea of giving her a happy life and repaying her for all the years of happiness she gave me when I needed it most kept me going. She still supports me when I have bad days but now I take advantage of every opportunity I can to be with her and do something fun.
I honestly don’t think words can really describe just how much I love her and what she means to me, but when I was a little girl I would dream about having a dog like her and I feel so lucky to have her in my life.
My life has been filled with laughter, love and slobbery kisses since we got Nova just over a year ago. She is the most affectionate dog I’ve ever met and always looks so happy.
Always looks so happy
She loves car rides, where she sits with her head and tongue sticking out of the window. She also enjoys doing zoomies in the park and diving headfirst onto the sofa. She is especially talented at giving the best hugs.
Sharing a bed with her can be quite a challenge, as she kicks out her hind legs to get comfy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Going on walks and chatting to her every day is my saving grace and a happiness that can’t be replaced.
Broden has been with us from eight weeks old – always rather stubborn but the best family dog ever. He’s welcomed new grandchildren into the family, loving their cuddles.
The best family dog ever
He became a Pets as Therapy dog and has visited care homes and schools. If faced with a person in a wheelchair he will lay his big head on their knees so they can stroke him. He has helped schoolchildren read and helped a child overcome a fear of dogs.
Since my husband retired he has been his walking companion, even walking the Cotswold Way and the Coast to Coast with him. He’s slowing down a bit now, but still has the biggest heart and personality.
Carmen is my Canine Partner, who’s been with me for just over a year now. She’s a beautiful Golden Retriever with the longest fluffy tail.
My dog helps me with tasks around the house. If I stop breathing at night, she wakes my husband by jumping on the bed, and is even trained to use an emergency phone to call an ambulance.
She is extremely caring but also has a wild side
She is extremely caring but also has a wild side and goes crazy on the beach. I think she’s trying to dig her way to Australia! The way she runs and plays, it’s hard to believe she’s the same calm girl that helps me through every day.
Carmen used to be a school reading dog, which she loved. She always looked as though she understood every word the children were saying. Now the reading classes take place over a video call, and Carmen always tries to get behind my laptop to see if the children are actually there behind the screen.
I don’t know how I’d have coped with lockdown without Carmen by my side. She is my angel and I love her to bits.
I had to shield during lockdown, and I found it really hard. Without the love and care l got from Pippy, l don't think l would have made it through.She made me laugh with her funny antics, cuddled me all night and checked up on me during the day.
Basically a real-life Scooby Doo
Pippy is hilarious and obsessed with food. Not a day goes by when she doesn’t steal a spoonful of my porridge in the morning! She also loves playing with her ball and is basically a real-life Scooby Doo. If my other dog Mollie loses her ball, Pippy usually finds it and points to it with her nose so Mollie knows where it is, but sometimes, Pippy will just steal it andrun away.
The past twelve months have been so tough, but with my dogs by my side, I’ve got through it all.
We sadly lost our Springer Rowan about the same time that Pip was born. Rowan had travelled all over Europe with us in our caravan and was our constant companion. Losing him broke our hearts, but Pip mended them.
Pip has so many funny quirks
He’s a working Springer, but his favourite place to be is on the back of the sofa, where he sits crouched like a rather odd-looking leopard. Pip has so many funny quirks, like taking his bed out of his crate every morning. He always looks so proud trotting up and down the corridor with it, and he’s kept us going through lockdown just by making us laugh every day.
Pip has a long coat over his shoulders which curls the wrong way, which can sometimes make him look as though he’s got a lion’s mane. One of his favourite things to do is search for treats I’ve hidden around the house for him. In the evenings, he likes to curl round my neck to watch TV. He really is an adorable, loving little chap.