Three years ago, I decided to adopt a rescue dog. Fate led me to a forlorn little puppy who had been saved from a life of cruelty – her name was Tara.
It was a bumpy start. She was totally terrified and barely moved, having been mute the whole 12-hour car journey home. But with time, a lot of patience and unconditional love from me and my two gentle cats, she started to come out of her shell. She took two weeks to bark and it was months before she could sleep on her own, but slowly, her confidence grew and her beautiful fun, cuddly character emerged. She still prefers other animals to humans, but if you give her the time to get to know you, gaining her love and affection is a feeling like no other.
Together, we’ll walk through life
Adopting Tara has changed my life. I have Type 1 diabetes, which brings with it a realm of challenges. By focusing on protecting this vulnerable little pup and working to make her happy, I was distracted from my own dark thoughts. Through her I met fantastic new people in my area and got out and about, spending my days walking in nature instead of hiding at home.
Now we are a team and together, we’ll walk through life, looking out for each other and helping each other to grow. We are both the perfect example of how much good comes from accepting imperfection, and celebrating differences.
Marley came into our lives at five months old, as a sensitive but funny pup. He didn't like loud noises and eventually stopped going out for walks in the evening as he was scared of fireworks, and associated them with the dark.
He is a big tail wager, and developed 'Happy Tail Syndrome.' After the third bout, his tail was amputated but this hasn’t stopped him wagging what he has left.
A wonderful, gentle soul
Marley is a wonderful, gentle soul and is the most patient pal to our two children. We now live in the countryside, which means all his fears are easing. He loves his walks and snuggles on the sofa, and apples are his favourite treat.
He truly is a beautiful boy, greying around the face and getting slower over the last few years, but such an important member of our family!
Mia is a black Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She has short legs and a little white patch on her chest. I first brought her home on a cold night about five years ago, when she was just seven weeks old.
Initially, I had to hide her because my husband was against getting another dog after losing our Yorkshire Terrier. For four days she lived in my daughter’s bedroom, sneaking out for cuddles when my husband was out. If he heard her make any noises during the night, we’d have to tell him he was just dreaming!
She has helped me to cope
One day, I went to get her to take her to the vets for her booster jab. She shot out of the door, down the stairs and bounced straight onto the sofa and sat down next to my husband! I was busted, but Mia quickly won his heart and became a member of the household.
Mia has such a great personality. Some of her favourite hobbies include stealing Brussels Sprouts from the veg rack, chasing birds and enjoying treats. She sleeps beside us every night in her basket, and every year we celebrate her birthday with a doggy cake and her friends.
She’s such an important dog to me because she helped me to cope after lost my brother. She knows when I’m sad and will give me lots of cuddles and kisses. I truly believe Mia was sent to me for a reason.
Pepsi is a 9-month-old female border collie. We knew that she was a great dog, but she really proved that when Walt, my ambulance technician partner, got COVID-19. I'm a community nurse so I looked after him at home for four days. Pepsi sat on the decking below his bedroom window listening to him cough. He was so ill that he was unable to move. She couldn't understand what was happening.
After four days, he really deteriorated and was admitted to a hospital 80 miles away. I was lost. I didn't know if I'd ever see him again alive. I didn't want to get up – the days were too long and scary. However, I knew Pepsi needed me so we sat in the garden and played ball. If I cried after seeing Walt on a videocall she would jump up and cuddle me.
Life is on the up again
Walt began to give up the fight in the hospital. He hated being away from us and he was so ill with the constant cough and fatigue. We sent videos of the dog and encouraged him to stay strong so he could come home to his ‘therapet’ (we always called her that). When he was finally discharged, she rarely left his side and I know he needed her every bit as much as he needed me to nurse him.
Now, Pepsi is his reason to fight the fatigue and get out. She has recently learned to swim, so we go places where Walt can just sit and watch her play.
I know every dog is their owner’s best friend but Pepsi is an ace dog who has really earned her ‘therapet’ nickname. We love her. She loves us. Life is on the up again.
We got Dotty back in January as a rescue dog. Little did we know what an important little dog she would be.
In the morning you wake up to Dotty on your head!
I started to suffer from anxiety and was signed off work for four weeks and Dotty gave me the strength to go out and walk her. Then during lockdown she has been our rock. Our son is autistic and she helps him a lot.
Dotty is a sausage dog crossed with a Jack Russell so is full of energy, jumps runs and keeps us on our feet. Dotty does not like to sleep on her own so spends the night at the bottom of our bed but in the morning you wake up to Dotty on your head! Her favourite things to do are play with her toys and snuggle up to you.
Lola is a rescue dog who has been with us a little over a year ago. She came to us this fully grown dog who still had many many puppy tendencies. We rescued her just before she got to the rehoming centre.
She is this large oaf who doesn’t realise her size, thinking she’s a lap dog. Lola loves a cosy blanket, hates being cold, wet and hates when the wind blows her ears.
Life during lockdown would have been impossible without his companionship
We still have a long way to go with training but she has changed our lives so much. She’s like a wee companion for myself and we’re either playing in the garden together, going for fun walks or cosying in bed watching a movie together. Lola loves her comforts and believe it or not, she loves the vets.
When she jumps up her paws go on your shoulders and she gives you almost a human cuddle.