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.
Since Graham has come into my life, he’s inspired me to get out and explore new places, as well as meet new people. I have never been a confident or particularly sociable person but having Graham by my side helps me to feel better and there isn’t anywhere I would go without him!
He’s come with me on a seven-mile-hike around the Peak District, travelled up to my hometown of Sheffield and even comes with me into cafes. Having him has pushed my partner and I to hire a camper van and travel around the Scottish Highlands. It’s always been a dream of mine, and now it’s even more special because he can come along with us!
Helps me to feel better
Graham is a very loving dog and is everyone’s best friend, even if he’s just met them. He is always up for a cuddle and loves giving people a ‘hug’ (where he puts his paw over your arm). I think meeting new people is one of his favourite things, along with food! He loves all food and will shamelessly do tricks for you in an attempt to get some – I haven’t found anything he won’t eat yet, even lettuce!
He’s also a pro at posing for the camera. Because of him photography is now a new hobby of mine, and of course he’s my favourite thing to take photos of. He is such a special dog and I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without him.
It’s sometimes hard to put into words what Roma means to me. She’s a dog from Romania, an ex-street dog to be precise.
I’ve never met a dog quite like Roma. She’s very deep, if that makes sense. She notices the slightest change and she remembers something for months! Once we found a dead squirrel on the path, so we avoided that walk for a couple of weeks. When we did return she went straight to the spot where that squirrel was!
Now we dance together
It took her a year to trust me when I first got her, and for us to truly bond. She taught me so much and continues to teach me every day. She even got me to be a dog trainer! That got me out and about meeting people. Now we dance together in front of a crowd, in heelwork to music competitions! In our first ever competition, we came fourth out of 17 other competitors.
It’s not always been easy. She came with baggage, but then again so did I. together we muddled our way through it all to end up here. Today I wouldn’t be without Roma, and I hope she feels the same.
I first fell in love with Monty when I saw his photo on a Labrador rescue site. By the time I had registered with them, he had been taken. To my amazement, he was back two weeks later as the lady that had taken him couldn’t cope. The following day I was off to collect him.
I took him to a field to do recall training and soon learned that he loves water! He sniffed out that there was water nearby and took off. The lead went through my hands like butter. He went swimming in the lake with all the ducks, and I ended up in the hospital with second-degree burns. He’s a typical teenager but I still love him!
He’s a typical teenager but I still love him
We couldn’t go past any stream, river or canal as he would want to be in it – and usually was. So, I took him to the local hydro pool for dogs. He loves it and now goes once a month. He cannot wait to be in the pool.
He is a retriever by name and by nature. If it’s on the floor, he will bring it to you, whether you want it or not. If he’s bored, he will fetch you anything he can find, and then run around the living room with it.
He is also a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, so he visits our local hospital, as well as one in Leeds. They all love him, have his photo on the walls, and know when he will be coming to their ward. We walk into our local hospital and everyone seems to know him. You can be walking down a corridor and hear someone say “Look, Monty is coming”.
Pickle was the last one in her litter, but even if we had an option we would always have gone for her. She is absolutely the one!
She has never left my side
She has brought a life to the family and she makes home ‘home’. She recently has helped me to go through the loss of my dad. She has never left my side and has always been the bouncy social butterfly jumpy Pickle.
We can also take her to the office, where she is helping me to get through this difficult time with my colleagues. I cannot love her enough!
This past year and a half have been quite hard on me and my mum, as we have lost a lot of family members due to a number of reasons, even our beloved dog Ceaser. Things were very bad, and for the first time I felt depressed and tired of life. But then we brought our beloved puppy, Julio the German shepherd, into our lives, and slowly but surely things changed for the better.
He has been a blessing to us
He helped me make new friends on all of our walks. Ok – he does drag me along rather than walk with me, but even that helps as it’s a great workout and cheers us all up! He has a lot of energy in him, and even though that can tire me out at times, it keeps me on my toes and helps me stay motivated.
He loves my 14-year-old son, and he loves him too and has learnt a sense of responsibility thanks to Julio. In short, he has been a blessing to us – although, our sofa definitely does not feel the same way, as he’s chewed it all up!