THERE are few things people love more than their four-legged companions.
Humanity has, from time immemorial, strode beside them and they have given us so much to cherish. In the dark times we find ourselves in now, the greatest gift they have given us has become ever more apparent; support.
Pets at Home chief executive Peter Pritchard, who recently oversaw a revenue increase of 5.1% over the lockdown period (primarily in the second half of the year, which saw like-for-like sales rise by 12.7%), told the BBC that pets have been “a lifesaver” for their owners throughout lockdowns, and it’s not hard to see why.
They may not be able to give us deep advice, joke with us about the cynical age we live in, or tell us how virology works, but the company they have provided us in our new world of walls is worth so much more, especially to the individuals they’ve seen through it.
These are some of their stories, from those who know them best.
Hugo & Ash
Two-year-old pug-mix-breed Hugo has provided invaluable company to Ash Smith, 20, throughout lockdown. While providing the service of answering calls to the 119 NHS test and trace number, little Hugo kept Ash cheerful with cuddles.
Said Ash: “He likes sleeping on me a lot and cuddling into me. He’ll always go and grab a teddy from his box and will fall asleep with it in his mouth”.
Hugo is sure to keep Ash company through his integrated foundation year at the University of Sunderand, and certainly beyond.
Amber and Alaska
In the early days of the first lockdown, we all looked for a good excuse to get out of the house, Sally Iveson had two: “The little brown one is Amber, she’s a Staffy/chihuahua (her attitude is absolutely huge for a small dog!) and the white one is Alaska, who’s a rescue dog from Romania! She’s scared of literally everything but is the cuddliest dog – she’ll lie in your arms like a baby and howls when she wants attention”.
Sally is doing her PCET PGCE to go on to teach English and media studies, and she’ll have the support of her little buddies all the way.
Olivia & Daisy
Not all of us were prepared for lockdown when it first began, and those who suffer with mental anguish were – and are – at more risk than most.
Fortunately, our fluffy partners can help with that too, as Olivia Hewitt explains: “This is my six-year-old collie terrier-cross called Daisy. I suffer a lot of anxiety and depression, so whenever I get really anxious or low she scratches at my bedroom door and cuddles up with me to distract and comfort me. She got me through some dark times”
It’s good dogs like Daisy that are improving lives all over the country; lives like Olivia’s.
Jade, Tranquil River & Bee
Not all our animal-pals are dogs and cats, some of them are sturdy steeds.
Jade Broomfield-Moore had Bee and Tranquil River as friends long before all this, and they helped her get through, as she explained: “The big man – Tranquil River – has always been there for me. While in lockdown, my mum face-times me at the yard, so I can have a chat with him…
“Bee then tried to eat the camera too, so we also have a chat. When I’m at home she’s my rock, and comes and gives me the best cuddles in the field”.
Our pets are always there for us, so let’s remember to keep giving them love, even when we all get to go back to normal.