When we first got Darcy, my family was in turmoil. My partner and I had both been made redundant and I was pregnant with our son. It felt as though we had lost everything, and I was feeling very low. Things got so bad that I even stopped leaving the house, and experienced high stress levels nearly every day.
She instantly became his loyal protector
With the very last of my redundancy pay, we decided to get Darcy – and that was the best decision we could have made. Looking after Darcy gave me the boost I truly needed to feel like myself again. She had to be taken for lots of walks, which helped me to leave the house for fresh air regularly. Looking after her also meant I had a loving companion to keep me company when my husband was out.
Darcy really did pull me out of my darkest hour, and when our son was born, she instantly became his loyal protector. Many said we were insane to have a dog and a baby together, but the pair of them have grown up with each other (they’re only six months apart in age) and have formed the strongest bond.
Now we’re in a better place, we’re able to spoil Darcy with everything she deserves – which is the world!
Vega is my trainee Disability Assistance Dog. Lockdown has put a stop to training sessions and temporarily prevented her from becoming fully qualified, but in our home, she’s become our very own saviour.
On my bad days she stays close by my side so she can help me out. She picks up things I drop, fetches numerous ‘named’ items on request such as shoes and medication and even takes off my socks, jumpers, trousers when asked. She also does a lot to help around the house, like fetching the phone when it rings and tidying up after my two other dogs.
She’s become our very own saviour
When I’m in a lot of pain, Vega lies across my legs to comfort me. Of course, I’m not the only one she helps – my older dog, Skye, has early dementia, and when she’s having a bad day, Vega will lie with her and help to calm her down. She even knows to pick up the dog bowls after dinner time and take them to the sink!
The greatest gift Vega gives me is her company. She is always close by and I know I can rely on her when I need help. This year, we’ve both learnt to understand each other, which has really strengthened our bond. She teaches me just as much as I teach her.
Lizzy is all the things you don't want. She's stubborn, always thinks she knows best and incredibly grumpy if her dinner is late.
Despite all that, she's been my rock since we rescued her at three years old. She's seen me through clinical depression and anxiety, and still is there for me when I need her. With the isolation the current climate has brought, taking her for walks and spending lots of time cuddling has been my therapy.
She’s been my rock
Lizzy never fails to make me laugh, and she remains bouncy and energetic, lighting up whenever she gets a sniff of agility equipment. I'm honestly not sure how she keeps going, behaving like a dog half her age, the only real sign being that after her mad romps she does need to sleep for a while. But, as soon as that's done, she's ready to go again!
Rosie, who was born on the summer solstice, lights up the room without saying a word. She’s at her happiest when she’s running along the beach chasing the birds, though she never actually catches any. Rosie loves to skip over rocks and never slips, no matter how much seaweed there is.
She’s ginger, fluffy and loyal
She’s ginger, fluffy and loyal, and our whole family absolutely adores her. All of us have a picture of her saved as our screensaver, and she’s definitely the favourite family member. She’s taught us love, loyalty and trust and that’s something we will always be grateful for.
Nora is the dog that saved my life. When I was 27, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of arthritis and was in constant pain. Small tasks such as putting on my socks became difficult, and had it not been for Nora, I think I would have given up.
Because of my dog, I have a purpose
She was always there for me, helping me through the pain and giving me a reason to carry on. Taking her on walks got me up and out in the morning. It took me almost a year to be officially diagnosed and then another year to get the right medication so that the pain was tolerable. I’ve had to give up so much since then, but Nora has remained by my side throughout it all.
If I’m having a bad pain day she seems to know and will do something silly just to make me smile. On good days, we enjoy going out together and taking in the fresh air. Nora has given me back the dreams I thought I’d lost. Because of my dog, I have a purpose. With her by my side, I can take on any challenge that life throws at me. We’ll get through it together.
Cara might be an elderly lady, but she still likes to play, especially with a tennis ball or two. Though, now if you throw one for her to chase, she’ll give you a look that says ‘I am 11 you know!’.
She enjoys a good cuddle and during these unsettled and sometimes lonely times, has been a much-needed companion. Cara also has free run of the house. She sleeps wherever she wants, sometimes being generous enough to allow me to share the bed or the sofa with her!
She can be vocal enough to get her point across!
As I live alone, her company is both a source of comfort and a welcome distraction. Her conversation skills may be lacking but believe me when I say she can be vocal enough to get her point across!
In short, I would not be without her. Even on those dark, wet and windy days when non-dog owners are cuddled up on their sofas, this old lady (I’m 77 years old) is glad to toddle down the road with her fellow old girl.