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.
I can't help but smile when I see my buddy, Roky.There's something about coming home and opening the door to a burst of energy powering towards me that makes my heart sing and melts away all the negativity from my day.
Helps me to get out and connect with the world
Not only is Roky good for my soul, but he's good for my health too. He gives my life a structure and makes sure I never lack purpose. He helps me to get out and connect with the world around me.
He's such a beautiful dog that people often stop to ask me about him. Thisis both a blessing and a curse.I get to meet so many new people, but he'salso very protective of me, and that means he's not always as interested in those new people as they are in him.
Roky doesn't like little dogs who are cuter than him, or anyone dressed in bright colours. It makes putting his raincoat on a nightmare!
Roco the rescue pup joined our family when he was 18 months old. When he came to live with us he was very excitable and really bouncy. He is a Labrador Husky cross with a 'wonky' ear (one sticks up and one hangs down). He craved fuss, attention and love, and so that’s exactly what I gave him.
My partner Graham has had some serious health issues in the past, and eventually had to spend a few days in hospital. When he came home, Roco was delighted to see him, but clearly sensed he was not well so was very gentle around him, which must have been hard for him given his excitable nature.
Roco saved Graham’s life that night
One evening, Graham headed to bed early as he was very tired. I sat watching TV downstairs and Roco stayed with me. After a short while he disappeared upstairs, and then came back a few minutes later and stood looking at me. Several times, he went to foot of the stairs, looked up and then came to me and nudged my leg. Eventually, I followed him as he trotted ahead of me, until I got to our bedroom and found Graham collapsed on the bed – there was clearly something very wrong.
Roco – normally bouncy and full of life – sat quietly at the foot of the bed, as I called for an ambulance. A couple of times he came over to me and leaned against my leg for comfort. Roco saved Graham's life that night. The ambulance crew said he was in a bad way and was later diagnosed with a serious chest infection. I will never forget what my dog did to get me upstairs that evening.
My boy has had a hugely positive influence in my life. I’d already owned two dogs before I got him last November. I sadly lost one in January and getting Vali helped me to deal with my grief.
A hugely positive influence in my life
During these recent tough months, he’s been my reason to go out each day. I love photography and he’s inspired me to get back out into the world and pursue my passion, since he enjoys coming with me.
Vali is an amazing dog – he is very sweet-natured and a bit of a clown, so he keeps me smiling and laughing each day.
We have sheep, so we decided to get a Border Collie to help us with rounding them up. Pip is brilliant at that and really loves her work.
I do a lot of hiking and have always wanted to walk Hadrian's Wall, which stretches across England. Last September, Pip and I booked our ferry from Ireland and we stayed in hikers' hotels all along the trail. Pip was welcome everywhere – in all the hotels, pubs, and even on the ramblers' bus which would take us to the nearest town each afternoon for supplies. At the end of our trip, we got to Newcastle and took the train back to Carlisle to get the car. All along the trail, people asked me ‘How are you doing this on your own?’, and I told them that I’m never on my own when I have Pip by my side.
I’m never on my own when I have Pip
Thanks to my furry companion, I enjoyed my holiday all the more, and it just wouldn’t have been the same without her.
Alfie is a Shih Tzu. Before I got him, he was abused as a puppy and was sadly left with spinal damage. This means he struggles to walk any distance and suffers from a limp – but it just makes me love him all the more.
Alfie loves life, cats and meeting new people, especially children. He travels around in his pram like a prince in his golden carriage!
He’s like a prince in his golden carriage!
I’m disabled myself and in pain most days, but he gives me a reason to get up and get out no matter how I’m feeling. I love the way he puts a smile on people’s faces when they see him. Alfie is so cute that everyone always notices my brave little star. He’s proved that you don’t have to be Marilyn Monroe to stop traffic!