My partner and I are both nurses. The last two years have left us tired, frazzled and at times afraid and terribly sad. Our two little boys Felix, aged seven, and Jude, aged six, were some of the few children at school throughout and they’ve been so brave.
I love dogs but it was never possible to have one with the long hours we worked. Then, in June last year, I got a job that allowed me to work from home a couple of days a week and we saw an advertisement for a litter of springer spaniels. It took some convincing but my partner, Dee, finally agreed to see them and the rest is history.
Even on the most difficult days, Bruce is always there
Bruce is typical of his breed – intelligent, playful, affectionate and slightly loopy. With the boys, he is always gentle and loving, and hearing them squeal with laughter when they all play together fills my heart.
Even on the most difficult days, Bruce is always happy to see us and always ready with a cuddle and a slobbery kiss. More times than I care to mention, I have sat on the sofa after a day at work and cried, and Bruce is always there, wrapped around my neck or lying across my legs and looking at me with his big brown eyes. The loopiness stops and he is just calm and present, and I feel better.
He gives me the strength to keep going. I have lost weight, my blood pressure and pulse are lower. I am loving our walks and looking forward to holidays in the lakes and Yorkshire Dales. He has completed our family.
Jenna is three years old now, though we’ve had her since she was a puppy. She is a beautiful Springer Spaniel. Her best friend is a Labrador called Max, who she loves to chase around. Jenna has many funny habits and is a massive counter-surfer. Once, when she was extra hungry because of the steroids she had to take, she managed to steal a steak pie, an entire cake and a chicken breast from the table!
Stay by her side
Jenna has helped my daughter, Hannah, to cope with her poor mental health. She seems to know when Hannah is having a bad day and will stay by her side or drop a ball into Hannah’s lap, so she has to throw it and play. This really helps to bring her out of a low mood. We all love Jenna so much, and I don’t know what we’d do without her.
My dog Ellie saved my friend and I when we got lost in the woods. We had gone for an evening stroll but missed the trail path and ended up walking away from our campsite. After spending hours trying to find our way back,it was getting dark, and we started to panic. We stumbled across a junction with four different paths, and while were debating which one to take, Ellie started walking resolutely down one. As we had nothing to lose, we decided to follow her. By some miracle, we found a car park which led us back towards the village and campsite. She truly saved us that night!
We decided to follow her
In 2019, we noticed Alfie was starting to slow down a lot, and he seemed to be getting old before his time. Sadly, it turned out he was gradually losing his sight, and he became very withdrawn.
Alfie has shown such resilience
At the time, we were devastated, but Alfie has shown such resilience and found a way to overcome all his difficulties. He has so much strength and brings me endless happiness. He’s taught me to make the most of life andhe will forever be my best friend and inspiration!
We adopted Jerry, an emergency rescue dog who was a bad way after being cruelly treated. Since then, he has come on leaps and bounds.
He’s been a real lifeline to me
He’s very sociable and friendly with other dogs and people and has been a real lifeline to me, especially when my husband passed away from cancer. He gives me a reason to get up and brings me such joy. He is also a brilliant guard dog, as well as being so loving and caring. He loves backs rubs – and running 40 laps around the garden!
Charlie came into our lives unexpectedly, after a text came through from a family member who knew how upset I was after losing my dog Bella. Lockdown was tough enough and without my sidekick, I was struggling.
Cute and cheeky Charlie
A change of circumstances meant Charlie faced the prospect of going back to the kennels, which was unideal seeing as he’d been through rescue centre twice already. He came for a visit one Friday night, just for a trial run – and he hasn't left since!
Initially we didn’t feel ready for another dog, but as soon as we saw him, we knew instantly that cute and cheeky Charlie was meant to be a part of our family. He’s so full of love and character, and such a happy dog.