My dog Flossie is my fur baby. She comes absolutely everywhere with me and my husband, including our wedding six months ago. Flossie was the guest of honour and made our day even more special.
We also took her on our honeymoon to the Lake District, where we had lots of fun adventures together, from climbing hills to riding a steam train.
She was the guest of honour at our wedding
Flossie’s favourite thing in the world is socks – she will sneak upstairs and have a good rummage through the washing pile until she finds one. She then proceeds to bury her sock treasure in any blanket or cushion she can find. If you leave a sock somewhere, it’s fair game!
Flossie recently celebrated her fourth birthday. The above photo is from her annual birthday photoshoot. There are more photos of Flossie in our phones than anything else – I’m sure all dog owners can relate!
In 2012, I had a very bad horse riding accident and was hospitalised. When I could return home my little Guiness hadn't seen me in nearly two weeks, so he knew something was wrong.
He wasn't too pushy for fusses or cuddles and wouldn’t get under my feet like he used to. For weeks, he would walk behind me and follow me up the stairs, just to make sure I was always ok. Once, when I did need help, he ran to get my mother by barking at her and leading her towards me.
Guiness has always kept a smile on my face
If he hadn’t looked after me so well and kept me entertained, I don't think I'd have been so quick to recover. I wanted to get better so I could take him for walks again, or even to local dog shows. Guiness has always kept a smile on my face with all his quirks, and I’ll be forever grateful for having a smart and protective companion to look out for me.
Nowadays, I'm all healed and Guiness has turned into a grumpy old man! He has to have a morning nap and be fed on his schedule with no room for lateness – but he’ll always be my best boy, no matter what.
Fibee came to me through a dog sitting site, five years ago now. Her owners were French and wanted somebody to look after her when they went back to France, sometimes for weeks at a time. At first, Fibee was very nervous, but I took her everywhere with me and she slowly became more confident. She trusted me.
I didn’t even notice what bad shape she was in. She had decayed teeth, a scabby eye and no hair. I don’t really know how to explain it. Everyone else reacted with a slight recoil, but I thought she was lovely. And love is blind.
The more time she spent at mine, the happier she seemed to be there. Three years ago, her owners asked me whether I’d like to look after her full time. They were having babies so she was being more and more neglected, and she just loved her visits to mine.
I can’t believe how lucky I am
I honestly couldn’t believe it – I could have never imagined such an outcome when I first met her. But I said yes, without hesitation.
Before Fibee, I was a bit wild, spending weekends out with mates. Nothing too crazy, but nothing too healthy either. Fibee changed all that. She gave me a routine. I knew I needed to take care of her and make her feel safe.
No vets could tell me what was wrong with her skin. But I got her teeth sorted and slowly, with a grain-free diet, her eye got a lot better.
Now it’s like she’s had a second lease of life. She comes on hikes with me, 5+ miles on the trot. She’s a favourite at the leisure centres I work for, and she just helped me propose to my fiancée.
Sometimes I just stare at her and can’t believe how lucky I am that she chose me.
Clyde is 12 years old, but he’s been part of our family ever since he was a little ball of fur. My dad passed away nearly 2 years ago now, and Clyde has been the most loyal and loving companion for my mum. I don’t know what she’d do without him.
He loves the rain, playing with his favourite ball and eating yummy snacks. He has arthritis in his legs and so he falls down sometimes, but while his body may be getting old, he still has the mind of a puppy. He’s constantly wagging his tail and ready to play, he’s such a happy boy.
He’s such a happy boy
Clyde enjoys nothing more than stealing your spot on the sofa as soon as you get up. If you leave even for a second, he’ll be lying there waiting for you when you come back. He’s also not keen on getting his photo taken, though he’s really photogenic, and we all utterly adore him. I think he still has the same puppy dog eyes we fell in love with all those years ago.
At the start of 2021 I was really anxious. I was working from a friend’s house and saw the advert for him. I called and he had already gone. He was advertised to a good home because Atlas is a deaf Dalmatian.
I had a call nearly a week later to say he was still available and to come and get him. I didn’t tell my now boyfriend and we drove for an hour to get him. I had moved back to my parents and didn’t tell them either.
We couldn’t be without him now
Since getting Atlas I’ve not been anxious. I’m so happy and feel so positive and I know he needs my love, time and patience. He’s very loving and clever and adores my nieces. My family love him and we couldn’t be without him now.
We have nicknamed him The Pickle! I don’t even know where we got the name from. He is also a great companion to my dad, who just had a cateract operation and is undergoing cancer testing, and keeps him amused. He really is the dog we never thought we’d need.
Three years ago, I decided to adopt a rescue dog. Fate led me to a forlorn little puppy who had been saved from a life of cruelty – her name was Tara.
It was a bumpy start. She was totally terrified and barely moved, having been mute the whole 12-hour car journey home. But with time, a lot of patience and unconditional love from me and my two gentle cats, she started to come out of her shell. She took two weeks to bark and it was months before she could sleep on her own, but slowly, her confidence grew and her beautiful fun, cuddly character emerged. She still prefers other animals to humans, but if you give her the time to get to know you, gaining her love and affection is a feeling like no other.
Together, we’ll walk through life
Adopting Tara has changed my life. I have Type 1 diabetes, which brings with it a realm of challenges. By focusing on protecting this vulnerable little pup and working to make her happy, I was distracted from my own dark thoughts. Through her I met fantastic new people in my area and got out and about, spending my days walking in nature instead of hiding at home.
Now we are a team and together, we’ll walk through life, looking out for each other and helping each other to grow. We are both the perfect example of how much good comes from accepting imperfection, and celebrating differences.