Arla is my 11-month-old White Swiss Shepherd and she’s the best reason to get up in the morning. She loves meeting new people and will circle you until it makes you dizzy, just so she can get the good scratches from all sides!
Always up for an adventure, she loves sniffing out new spots, especially if there are muddy puddles involved. Ever since she's joined our family, we've had more exposure to the Great British countryside than ever, in all weather conditions! It's hard to feel the cold when you have a big white fluffy coat like Arla.
She’s the best reason to get up in the morning
Now it's spring and the lambs are about, she’s made a habit of dragging us to the nearest sheep field on her walks so she can stare at them in awe with her tail wagging, true to her Shepherd ways. Every so often, a lamb will come up to the fence to have a closer look and it truly makes her day.
Although she has many quirks, her funniest habit is putting herself to bed as soon as you mention training in the house. Arla has a rule that the house is only for play, sleep and strictly no work. All you have to do is ask her to 'sit' or pick up a treat and she's straight in the crate – sometimes she shuts the door after herself too!
Mia is a black Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She has short legs and a little white patch on her chest. I first brought her home on a cold night about five years ago, when she was just seven weeks old.
Initially, I had to hide her because my husband was against getting another dog after losing our Yorkshire Terrier. For four days she lived in my daughter’s bedroom, sneaking out for cuddles when my husband was out. If he heard her make any noises during the night, we’d have to tell him he was just dreaming!
She has helped me to cope
One day, I went to get her to take her to the vets for her booster jab. She shot out of the door, down the stairs and bounced straight onto the sofa and sat down next to my husband! I was busted, but Mia quickly won his heart and became a member of the household.
Mia has such a great personality. Some of her favourite hobbies include stealing Brussels Sprouts from the veg rack, chasing birds and enjoying treats. She sleeps beside us every night in her basket, and every year we celebrate her birthday with a doggy cake and her friends.
She’s such an important dog to me because she helped me to cope after lost my brother. She knows when I’m sad and will give me lots of cuddles and kisses. I truly believe Mia was sent to me for a reason.
Dexter is a master of destruction. We’ve dubbed him with the nickname ‘Choppers McGee’, and his vet and the nurses call him ‘Dexter Naughty Pants’!
You may be wondering how he’s earnt himself this reputation. Well, at just 14 weeks old, he managed to eat the earpiece from our son’s headset and ended up in emergency surgery. It was about the size of a ring donut, so it’s quite incredible that he swallowed it in the first place. On that day, the CBBC crew from the TV show ‘Pet’s Factor’ happened to be filming. After hearing about Dexter’s antics, they decided to run a story on him – they even turned him into a cartoon character called ‘DJ Rex’!
They even turned him into a cartoon character
Regretfully, the experience hasn’t made him any more sensible. Watching his own exploits on the TV seems only to have motivated him further, and recently he tried upgrading to swallowing a pair of socks. Of course, it didn’t work and he soon returned them, covered in slobber. He seems to have developed a fondness for shoes in general, and now enjoys chewing flip flops as well as the occasional nibble on the garden hose.
He may be naughty, but Dexter is also incredibly smart, and has learnt to open the patio doors from both the inside and the outside. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll come indoors though when asked though – he’ll usually stay outside until we lure him in with a treat!
Dexter is a fabulous, goofy, one-of-a-kind dog who is a very much-loved addition to our family.
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”.
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!
Angus is our partially deaf Border Collie. We collected him when he was just eight weeks old, and now we couldn’t imagine our lives without him.
He does hear loud noises, which can sometimes startle him, and he responds to his name if you say it clearly enough. Mostly, he follows signs, even though we make a large amount of them up! It’s like we’ve developed our own language for him.
Without her, my life would be very bleak
Angus is a very clever dog, so he’ll always let us know when he wants something. I think we would all have struggled without him in the last year. He loves long walks in the countryside, which has been great for me. My dog is like my little shadow, and a treasured member of our family.