I have struggled with poor mental health, but Lola has been my saviour and my reason to get better. She needed me when I didn’t need myself.
Lola is an intelligent, energetic and entertaining pooch. She loves long walks and getting super muddy, but I don’t mind as she’s great company and has helped me forget about the world this last year. When out and about she’s a whirling dervish but always comes back and taps her nose on my hand when called. She loves drinking fresh water, so much so that she always lies down in the puddle or pond in order to lap it all up!
Lola has been my saviour
One of her favourite things to do is to sniff out a tennis ball in the long, wild meadows. She also loves being out in the garden with her best friend,our cat Shadow. They frolic and play together, though the cat definitely has the upper hand with his climbing prowess.
When Lola gets really excited, she runs around the fire pit and randomly digs up the ground. Thankfully, the garden is a wildlife friendly area, so wedon’t mind it getting ripped up a bit in the name of fun. If she’s tired, she loves a good nap and curls herself up into some strange positions, sleeping around our necks and against the back of the sofa.
Lola’s needs aren’t that different from my own. Long walks on wet and rainy days, exploring, observing and snuggling have helped us both to getthrough this last year.
Playa was found with her siblings at the side of the road when she was just a few days old. The litter was fostered, and Playa was adopted but sadly returned after a while. I happened to meet her her at an adoption drive in a pet shop a few months later. I had only gone in to buy cat milk for our newly adopted kitten, Peanut, but I just knew as soon as I saw her that Playa was meant to be ours.
The two of them are inseparable
She immediately fit right into our busy household, along with our new kitten, Peanut, and two other cats. She loved Peanut from the moment she laid eyes on her, and to this day the two of them are inseparable and even sleep in the same bed. Peanut sees Playa as a toy and chase and bite her tail, but Playa just licks her back.
Playa loves everyone and everything. Our friend has a son who has autism, and he can be intimidated by dogs because of their unpredictable fast movements. But he has no fear of Playa, and loves sitting on the sofa and cuddling with her. Playa shows tremendous patience with all children and young dogs, and is always so gentle and calm around them.
We got Keeva in November after a very tough few months in lockdown. Both my son and I suffer from heart problems, and Keeva really helped us to stay positive during the uncertainty of last year.
Keeva has really helped us to stay positive
Dogs were already a part of our family, as we have two Chihuahuas as well as Keeva. We adore them but they’re getting old and can’t walk far anymore. That just makes training Keeva the puppy all the more exciting. Taking her out for fresh air has kept us going and brought us closer together, and we have so many funny stories we can’t wait to share with our wider family when we can see them again.
Keeva is an Irish name which means bold and beautiful. It reminds me of my other son and his young family. They live in Ireland, so I haven’t seen them in a while, but they’re always in my thoughts.
Nemo is the light and heart of our family. He hasn't had it easy as he was a rescue dog. He was so untrusting and agitated when he came home, but now he's so trusting, loving and playful.
It's very hard to think of a time when we hadn't got Nemo. He's still like a puppy – he greets us every time we leave him even if it’s for one minute. He's also a fantastic guard dog as whenever anyone rings the doorbell they back off. It’s quite funny really seeing a big burly delivery man running to the top of the driveway!
It's very hard to think of a time when we hadn't got Nemo
I'm disabled myself and Nemo is at my side when I really need him. His instincts are spot on. My heart bleeds for him as I think about what his life was like before. He is our rock as he makes our lives much richer and he lights up the whole house with his zoomies round the garden, his barking at the doorbell (realistically the only time he barks), the way he plays with his toys with love and hugs and the occasional tugging of the stuffing.
I could go on forever praising him but I think I've said enough for now. So Nemo thank you for making our lives so glorious and I hope he has a safe and restful life with us because he's certainly made a huge difference to ours.
Prince is my best friend and is just the greatest company. He was one of a litter of six, and we picked him because of his underbite, which we fell in love with!
He’s my best friend
Prince seems to instinctively know when you need a cuddle or cheering up, if you’d like a walk or just want to sit down. I got him after the death of my father six years ago, and he also was a huge comfort when my mother died this year.
Prince is a Pug who loves mountain walking and the beach. His personality is very human; he’s a mummy’s boy and loves a cuddle. He enjoys chasing birds and thinks he can catch them in the sky. He loves to eat (but luckily has never been into eating furniture or shoes!)
His best friend is our family dog Theo, a Bernese Mountain Dog. He also has the trick of sneezing on you when he’s very excited!
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.