I used to be my mum’s carer, and after she passed away, I found myself totally lost. Not long after, we adopted Harry from Dogs Trust, and I found my purpose again.
Harry fills my days with fun and laughter
Harry fills my days with fun and laughter. He’s a Cocker Spaniel who is so loving and gentle. Even if I’ve just gone to put the bins out, he greets me as if I’ve beenaway for weeks when I return. He loves being tickled, and stays close by your side if you’re ill or feeling down. He is the loyal companion that I couldn’t be without, and it’s a pleasure waking up to his smiling face every day.
Oscar is fabulous. He's looks after my son, Jason, who has autism. When he knows Jason is unhappy, he’ll go and sit next to him until he cheers up.
Until he cheers up
My dog has such a fun personality and can be very cheeky. He enjoys having a sneaky nibble of the newspaper when he thinks no one is looking! He’s also a total water baby, and so his favourite pastime is undoubtedly swimming.
My Cockapoo Amber has helped me to stay positive through the toughest times of my life. She came into our family when I was 16 and first started experiencing symptoms of my illness. She was only eight weeks old and quickly became my best friend, as I had to leave school and my life as I knew it began to fall apart.
It was almost two years later I was diagnosed with a life-limiting illness that left me housebound, in constant pain and extremely weak. At my lowest, Amber was the only thing that kept me going and the only thing that would make me smile. Whenever I got upset she would lick my tears away and stay by my side and when I was really unwell, she would scratch and cry at my door or do whatever she could to be with me. She was a constant source of comfort and made me feel so safe and less lonely.
She would lick away my tears
When nurses would come to visit me at home, they would always comment that Amber was always so close to me but she also instinctively knew when she needed to give me and the nurses space (although she was never too far away). They would often tell me that they’d always say they we’re going to see ‘Ellie and Amber’ because she never left my side. I’d spend months in hospital, and she would come and visit me. Having a cuddle and seeing her happy face was a massive boost. My heart would feel lighter whenever she would visit.
Without Amber I wouldn’t be here today. Last year I had surgery that thankfully gave me a second chance at life. I only got to that point because I wanted so desperately to take her for long walks or play with her in the garden again, she’s mad about tennis balls and loves to play fetch. The idea of giving her a happy life and repaying her for all the years of happiness she gave me when I needed it most kept me going. She still supports me when I have bad days but now I take advantage of every opportunity I can to be with her and do something fun.
I honestly don’t think words can really describe just how much I love her and what she means to me, but when I was a little girl I would dream about having a dog like her and I feel so lucky to have her in my life.
My two dogs, Amber and Bella, have brought so much happiness to our family. They act as therapy dogs for my little boy who has severe autism. He lives in a world of his own and very rarely lets people in. Our dogs havebrought him laughter, smiles, love and a bond that’s unbreakable. With them around, he’s always giggling and interacting with us. They’ve made our lives complete.
Our dogs have brought him laughter
Anya is a sensitive, loving and intelligent Golden Cocker Spaniel who has been a part of our lives for five years now. She gives every family member their own special attention, but as my son’s hearing support dog, she’s also his best friend. Every morning she starts her day by jumping on his bed, trying to dig him out from under his duvet!
Offering more than just hearing support, Anya also provides him with unconditional love and friendship. She calls him down for dinner by entering his room, nudging him with her wet, black nose and then leading him downstairs. It’s very comforting to know that she’s always there to protect him, especially when he’s asleep at night. If the smoke alarm goes off, for example, she can wake him up and alert him to the danger.
She’ll be there to protect him
Anya loves her walks and, as a typical Spaniel, she loves to sniff out fox poo! Her favourite human foods are sausages and cheese – if you ever eat them in front of her, she always looks at you with the biggest brown eyes, trying to get you to share them. She also adores playing frisbee, always running after it and bringing it back for us to throw again.
She’s our first dog, and every day we are thankful for the love and support she gives us. Suffering from hearing loss can sometimes mean that people shy away from you, but with Anya around people are actually drawn to us.
When I look at her asleep on the sofa, I understand why dogs like to sleep a lot – it’s because when they’re awake, they devote all of their energy to looking after their humans.
Mac is my confidant. I have health issues and have had to retire because of them, but Mac keeps me going, even on my darkest days. It’s almost as though he can sense when things are really bad, because he’ll always give me lots of cuddles to cheer me up.
Mac keeps me going
Balls are his favourite toy, so he has a rather large collection. He also has a few quirky habits, like how he hates walking on the tiled floor and will refuse to come in unless I put his bed down for him, or how much he barks at the postman. Mac always waits until you’ve finished your food before he eats his, just in case you give him any extras!
As he’s getting old, he has a few health issues now, but as soon as you throw a ball, he turns into a young pup again. He does look like an old man with his bushy eyebrows and podgy tummy, but that just makes him all the more adorable.