8th April 2022
National Pet Day: Bertie’s story
For National Pet Day we’re asking you, our supporters, to tell us about your pets and what they mean to you. Today we’re bringing you the story of Sam, Emma and Bertie. Sam has Motor Neurone Disease and comes to the hospice for massage treatments and counselling. He and his wife Emma are loyal supporters of the hospice.
In February 2021 Bertie – a handsome, eight week old golden cocker spaniel puppy – came into Sam and Emma’s lives and stole their hearts.
Now 15 months old, Bertie is ‘chief cheer-up officer and seat stealer,’ and his enthusiasm for spending time with Sam is evident. When Sam comes into a room, Bertie is first to greet him with a very waggy tail and a toy in his mouth, often jumping up to sit on Sam’s knee for a nuzzle.
“Having a pet like Bertie at a time of illness helps provide companionship, positive distractions, unlimited affection and some great comedy moments!” said Sam, recalling the time when Bertie first arrived and in his enthusiasm to explore the garden managed to step on and trip over his own ear!
The relationship with Bertie brings Sam joy and something to look forward to, which shows that dogs really don’t discriminate, even though the way his owner Sam, who is immobile from the neck down, interacts with him is different from the way his able-bodied owner Emma does.
Emma says: “Bertie is a guaranteed highlight to every day. He is very calm, merry and loving and just adorable.
“He is also very intuitive and knows how to behave around Sam, particularly at times when a cuddle is all that is needed, he will just settle on Sam’s lap.”
Bertie is also a key companion to Emma and makes sure she gets out and about walking, which was a shared pastime with Sam that is no longer possible. Bertie has also helped Sam’s young niece overcome her fear of dogs so that now she and her family have their own dog.