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.
Mac is a two-year-old Golden Retriever and he is the most wonderful boy. He loves toys, especially stuffed animals. His favourites include a shark, a teddy bear, two hedgehogs, two sheep plus many more.
He loves toys, especially stuffed animals
Whenever someone comes to our front door, Mac always greets them witha toy, regardless of whether they want it or not. He’s got such a friendly nature that he insists we say hello to all of the dogs and people we see on our walks. He also adores running, sliding and rolling around outside, particularly when it’s snowy or if he’s near the water.
Working from home has been a strange adjustment but having Mac around has made it so much easier, and he gives me the motivation I need to carry on each day. It’s amazing the difference a happy dog can make to your life. Mac is a bundle of joy.
On 7 July this year, I had a twist of my left ankle, fell and hit my back off a wall. I have MS and I use a stick but wasn’t doing anything stupid – just watching my two dogs play, turned around and that was it.
My son works from home and had just gone upstairs, so I knew I was in trouble as no one could have heard me. Dave my pug is trained to pick things I drop up, but I hadn’t dropped anything, so I told them to go get my son. They ran into the kitchen and stood barking but my son just kept working thinking they were playing.
It had started to rain and I knew I was in trouble as I couldn’t move and my breathing had become very shallow. In between them running in and out, I asked them to get my phone but it wasn’t on the floor so Dave was confused. I know Ed my Shar Pei loves the furry toy on my phone, so I asked him to get it.
Dear knows how long I’d have been out in the rain without my two super dogs
By now I’d been lying on the path for 20 minutes and knew I had done something bad. Ed came over and I could move my head, so I held onto him and he slowly pulled me towards the backdoor. He then lifted my phone but dropped it as he wasn’t really allowed to touch it, but then Dave grabbed it and gave it to me.
I texted “help fallen” and down my son came. He called 999, and when the medics saw me, they too knew I’d done something. They thought I’d punctured a lung, but after getting IV morphine I was somehow into the ambulance and blue lighted to hospital.
I’d broken my ankle and my back, and was in hospital for seven weeks, then got home needing carers, nurses and physios. I’m on the way to better health now, but dear knows how long I’d have been out in the rain without my two super dogs.
Swizzle is our miniature black and tan Dachshund. He’s changed our lives for the better in so many different ways, like helping to keep us active. One of our favourite things to do now is go for a long walk, and without Swizzle, we would never have discovered some of the nature trails or beautiful sites in our local area.
Having Swizzle also means we can’t be picky – we have to go for a walk come rain or shine. Getting outside no matter what has helped to improve our mental health, especially in these difficult times we’re all facing.
He’s changed our lives for the better
Swizzle makes us laugh everyday with his unique quirks. He always comes to sleep in our bed, but he doesn’t just curl up at the end – no, he lies with his head on the pillow, flat on his back, just like a human.
Like a typical Dachshund, he loves to bark out the window at other dogs passing by, and he gets particularly excited if he sees one that looks like him. We’re sure he thinks he owns the street outside our house!
Max is my West Highland Terrier. He’s always making us laugh, especially when he tries to be at one with nature – he spends hours watching the birds in our birdbath, and loves playing with the squirrels in the garden.
He likes to keep me company on the charity walks that I take part in. Last year, my wife and I completed a 16-mile walk for the British Heart Foundation. We came home absolutely shattered, but energetic Max lay down for a grand total of 10 minutes, before running around like a sprinter again! This year, I’ve completed a 3.4 million step challenge for Diabetes UK, with my little mate Max by my side all the way.
Max gets excited by anything and everything
Max gets excited by anything and everything, which is a joy to see. The first time he visited the beach, he ran around and around in circles, to the point where my wife was crying with laughter! When he first saw snow he rolled over until he was soaked through – he just has so much energy and finds happiness in everything.
He makes us smile every day. One of the things he loves most is cuddling with his mum (my wife). He’ll jump up and paw at her until she gives in and lets him flop onto her lap. He gets jealous when we’re snuggled up without him, and will even wedge his way in-between us so as not to miss out!
Shylow is the most ‘human’ dog! He has guided my husband through a very dark period of depression and listens to his every word. He sat beside my husband, tilting his head, listening to every word and rambles back. Shylow understands everything we say to him and my husband and the dog share their own howling conversations. Shylow is our motivation to get up and get outdoors.
Watching him live his best life with us has enabled us to live ours with him
He brings toys to play with and tells us exactly what he wants. Shylow enjoys the finer things in life like freshly cooked sausages – or a packet of beef hula hoops! He is very well-behaved, and watching him live his best life with us has enabled us to live ours with him.