We got Monty just before lockdown this year, after years of talking about having a dog. He was seven months old and a bit of a teenager, but he has changed and enhanced our lives for the better.
He is the sweetest, gentlest dog who has what I firmly believe is a genuine sense of humour. He can tell when I am getting stressed while working from home and will hide his toys under a table or chair and invite me down onto the floor to retrieve them for him. Once I’m there, he’ll happily chew my hair and lick my ears and squirm around to show how pleased he is. I give him back his toy, with a big cuddle and go back to work. Five minutes later the toy is miraculously back in an inaccessible place.
He has even won over our two cats
He has the biggest, best doggy smile (like most Golden Retrievers) and his general exuberance and love for life is infectious. He has even won over our two cats – who were less than impressed that I had brought a big, hairy stranger into their lives!
We recently had a garden redo and the builder made it clear he didn’t like dogs, so we cordoned off the bit of the garden that he was working in. Monty sat politely in a garden chair watching everything and accepting an occasional pat. By the end of the three weeks, the builder was greeting him enthusiastically and stopping by for a proper pet. They are now firm friends – even when Monty was accidentally let into the wrong part of the garden and ended up belly-deep in the freshly poured concrete footings for the wall!
Monty is the heart and soul of my life.
We adopted JD as a 14-week-old puppy. His previous owner had only had him for five days before deciding it was too much effort to have a dog. The minute he met our daughter, who is autistic with specific learning difficulties, he instantly seemed to know that she needed calmness.
He’s such a natural therapy dog
He does not leave her side when she’s home, and picks up on the signs she is overwhelmed. He lies by her and sticks his head in her hands. At night he sleeps by her bed and when she wakes at night, he lies on top of her. The pressure of him seems to send her back to sleep. He’s such a natural therapy dog.
He is also a crazy young dog who is ball-obsessed and also likes helping dig at the allotment. I can’t believe how lucky we have been to find such a wonderful dog.
We have a new puppy called Remus, named after Remus Lupin from Harry Potter. He’s only been in the family for three weeks but he’s already provided us with many laughs!
His personality is very cheeky
His favourite thing to do is to nip at the children’s toes, or at the slippers he carries around (even though they’re bigger than him!). He’s also very snuggly, and just wants to be with someone all the time.
His personality is very cheeky, and he’s so confident. He has no fear of any other dog at all – in fact, they seem to be scared of him even though he’s tiny!
We rescue female Miniature Schnauzer dogs from puppy farms. Over the past 20 years, we’ve rescued 16 – each with their own set of fears, neuroses, strange habits and physical problems after years in the most dreadful environments.
Two years ago, we suddenly lost a very young rescue who had a heart murmur. I looked online and saw that there was a nine-month-old Miniature Schnauzer in a rescue in Wales. On the hottest day of the year, we travelled 300 miles to get her and 300 miles to bring her home. Since that day she has delighted us with her youth, her love for everyone and her exuberance for life.
She is a true joy
She is always happy. She insists on cuddling and playing with the four much older dogs we have and they seem to forget their traumas and woes when they’re around her. She patrols the garden endlessly to ensure no pigeon, jackdaw, or rook lands. But she’ll give robins and blackbirds safe access. She insists on taking out a soft toy every time she goes into the garden. But she always leaves them there. She greets us with squeals of delight even if we’ve only been gone for five minutes. She sleeps between us on her own pillow, never moving, but pressing against my back as though to say ‘I’ve got you’. Everyone loves Bella Bear. Although we don’t seek a reward for rescuing these dogs, I believe she is our reward for looking after all our ‘damaged’ girls over the years. She is a true joy.
Buddy is the heart of our family, and a lot more than a soft cuddly lump! Everybody loves Buddy! The grandparents always ask about him, friends always give him fuss and the neighbours always sneak him treats. You can't put your hands in your pockets without him thinking there might be a B word (biscuit) in there.
Buddy is the heart of our family
Buddy was a rescue and has been with us for three years now. He fit right in! He was the support we needed after losing our beloved family dog Tyson because Buddy knows exactly when you need a cuddle. Buddy has recently claimed some new decking for himself in the garden... we now call it Buddy's decking. It even has a sign to make sure everybody knows this!
Buddy loves to come running with me. We go all over town and make people smile. His tongue is so long it hits him in the face as he runs! He's the perfect running Buddy. I'd say Buddy's super power is his selective hearing because he responds better to biscuit or dinner than his own name.
Misto is such a special dog, and he appeared in my life when I was really struggling. My mum had died a few months before and my daughter had moved out, leaving me quite lonely and down.
I went on holiday to Sicily with my niece, staying in a remote spot and one day Misto just appeared! He took a shine to me (and me to him!) and would fine me every day, curling up beside me wherever I was. It felt like my mum had sent him to me, and so we named him Misto in her memory - her favourite greyhound was a brindle called misty, so we ‘italianised’ the name to Misto - which is fitting, as in Italian it means ‘mixed’!
In Italian it means mixed
When I asked hotel staff about him they said he was just a stray - they’d had quite a few pups and various Italian visitors had adopted them but he was the last one. I asked about the possibility of me adopting him, and they put me in contact with an Italian woman who takes in strays and finds homes for them - not usually as far away as England though
Communicating largely through google translate, we arranged for her to take him in. she kept him for about six weeks, got all his jabs, pet passport and arranged his flight over, and he finally arrived at Heathrow in December 2016.
He brings unimaginable joy to my life. I live by the sea and we both love walks and runs on the beach - which is where the photo was taken.