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British Dogs

Meet Leo

Adele may not be Leo’s owner, but he has had a huge impact on her life – even helping her to recover from a recent hip operation

This is my grand-dog, Leo. My son and his partner own him, but we look after him frequently while they are at work. As soon as they got him, I instantly bonded with him. He’s a Shiba Inu, a very funny, quirky breed. This is very apt, as my eldest son lives and works in Japan.

When Leo sees you, it’s like you’re the only person in his life – his whole body wags and he smiles. He doesn’t bark, just woofs and makes a strange whining noise. He doesn’t like water at all, so he has to be carried over puddles and he always walks around large areas of water. He also loves to be brushed as he has lots of thick fur. Once you start, he just lays upside down, literally smiling.

I recently had my hip replaced. On the evening I came home, my son brought him round. He jumped on the bed and just lay at my side, looking up and smiling. He knew he couldn’t jump on me. I call him my therapy dog. He has helped no end in my recovery. I walk him with my husband on my sticks, and if I stop, he stops.

He's very stubborn, and if he doesn’t want to walk, he often has to be carried home. He’s definitely a magnet for affection. Everyone thinks we are walking a fox. He loves everyone and just wants to play with every dog he meets. Shibas are renowned for their lack of recall, but we’ve had no problems with Leo at all. He loves his ball, which has helped with that.

Leo is not a morning dog. He loves to sleep and comes to life later in the day. My son also has two cats who came first, so Leo had to adapt and often slept in their basket with them. He thinks they are dogs and tries to mouth them. One can tolerate it, but the other doesn’t. He knows his place! They often sleep side by side and it’s lovely to see.

I’ve never had dogs before, but I totally understand why people have them. He has brought so much happiness to our family. Such a lovely cuddly teddy bear.

He has brought so much happiness to our family

Meet Vega

Debs couldn’t be without her loyal dog Vega, who does everything she can to make her owner’s life easier

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.

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Meet Mia

Hayley’s garden always looks its best thanks to her dog Mia

Mia is a German Shepherd dog who is full of character and just loves to beuseful in the garden. She helps me dig holes, scrape soil and even dig in the manure.

Mia will literally follow us everywhere

She also loves to carry logs when we’re cutting down trees or shrubs. Mia will literally follow us everywhere, looking to help. She doesn’t like it whenwe use the rake though, as she thinks it might hurt us!

Meet Archie

Kathryn and her family initially struggled to get Archie’s behaviour under control, but they eventually realised he wasn’t the only one in need of training

Archie is a goofy, lovable and loyal chocolate Labrador, who loves people and food but hates the hoover and water.

In the first six months, he was an absolute angel and no trouble at all. Then things changed and Archie became the craziest, most belligerent whirlwind ever! We got asked to leave training because his disruptive behaviour was disturbing others, and we even contacted a behaviourist for help.

He has taught us so much and brings us so much joy

We thought we’d made a dreadful mistake in getting him, but we eventually started to realise it wasn’t just Archie who needed training, we needed it too!

Gradually with patience, encouragement, praise and love, we have all learnt together and, between us, we have (almost) got there.

Archie’s still got his crazy personality at times, but we have the most loving, loyal dog who has taught us so much and brings us so much joy. Lockdown was made easier thanks to him, and we got through it all as a team. He’s even got a new cocker spaniel sister, Bella, who he’s helping us with – but that’s another story!

Meet Jasper

Jasper might be a whirlwind of energy, but he was exactly what Ann needed when she got him last year

I recently lost my mum to cancer, and then shortly after I lost my Labrador at 12½ years old. I felt completely lost, so I bought Jasper from a game keeper. He’s a full working black Labrador and he’s completely bonkers. He’s a little rascal who’s full of fun and loves nothing more than to run and swim.

He’s put the smile back on my face after two difficult years

He has been a great companion for me, especially as I have also had a major spinal op and walking is the best exercise for me. He’s put the smile back on my face after two difficult years – we have so much fun together. If I’m having a bad day with my back, he snuggles up to me and rests his head on my shoulder as if to say, “It’s OK mum, I’m here.”

He’s just such an amazing dog. He has the best temperament and is really comical. I never thought I would find another dog as good as my last one, but Jasper is shaping up nicely. He’s really helped me a lot over the past year.

Meet Bea

Mandy enjoys endless adventures with her canine companion, Bea

Bea is my best friend. We go practically everywhere together and are quite well known in my neighbourhood. Her favourite things are food, affection, her cuddly bumble bee toy and riding in the back of my vintage American ‘Woody’ truck.

She’s a diva with the sweetest heart

Bea also loves the camera and has appeared in a couple of UK TV commercials – she thrives on the attention! She’s a diva with the sweetestheart and we are truly inseparable.

Having travelled extensively together, Bea is a total globetrotter, but we have now been happily settled in London for the past eight years. Here’s to many more years of love and fun with my best buddy.

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