An­gel dog – one sniff and I was saved

Chat It's Fate - - Contents -

Ly­ing on my bed, my eyes full of tears, I felt a pres­sure next to me as my Labrador, Tia, jumped up be­side me. She sighed and snug­gled down against my side. I reached out a hand and stroked her black fur. In­stantly, I felt my mood lift slightly.

‘Thanks, Tia,’ I mur­mured softly.

My hus­band Mark and I hadn’t planned on get­ting a dog, but a lo­cal farmer’s Labrador had un­ex­pect­edly pro­duced a lit­ter of pup­pies, and we’d agreed to take one on. Tia was adorable – a bun­dle of black fur with brown, soul­ful eyes – but the pup­pies had been born un­der a bush, as is the way of ru­ral dogs, and at first, I couldn’t even cud­dle her. She wasn’t used to be­ing han­dled by hu­mans, and would trem­ble in fear.

But she quickly got used to me, and would wag her tail and lick me lov­ingly when­ever she could.

Strong­bond

Mark watched both of us fall in love with one another.

‘Tia has come into our lives at just the right time!’ he said – and he was right. Even though we’d been mar­ried for 10 years, we’d tried and failed to start a fam­ily. I suf­fered from Poly­cys­tic Ovary Syn­drome (PCOS) and we couldn’t con­ceive a baby nat­u­rally.

We’d bought a huge plot of land on which to build a house. We’d hoped we'd be able to fill it with chil­dren. But, sadly, it just didn't work out as we'd planned.

Three years ear­lier, in 2003, we’d started IVF. By the time Tia came into our lives, we’d un­der­gone three at­tempts and ev­ery sin­gle one of them had failed.

I’m a tough cookie, but there were times I’d cry and cry. Some­times it was the hor­mones from the IVF drugs af­fect­ing my mood. At other times, I was filled with de­spair.

When­ever Tia spot­ted I was hav­ing one of my down days, she’d put her head in my lap or push my hand for an ear rub. She al­ways made me smile, snapped me out of my dark mood.

Stress­ful­time

Over the fol­low­ing 18 months, we went through another two rounds of IVF. Each time, when I started in­ject­ing my­self with the drugs to pro­duce eggs, Tia never left my side. It was as though she knew she needed to help keep me calm and re­laxed.

Mark and I ar­gued a lot when I was tak­ing the fer­til­ity-boost­ing drugs. It was in­evitable – the drugs played havoc with my moods, made me tired and ir­ri­ta­ble. And try­ing to get preg­nant was putting a lot of pres­sure on our mar­riage.

Poor Tia hated the ar­gu­ments. You could al­most hear her plead­ing, 'Mummy, Daddy! Please stop row­ing. I love you both and I know you love

My dog Tia was sent to save my life Nee­lam Stocker, 47, from Bath Tia al­ways cheered me up when I felt low

one another too!' If we didn't stop, Tia would find a way to dis­tract us. She’d learned how to open door han­dles as a young puppy - so she’d jump up and open the door! Be­fore she trot­ted out, she’d fix us both with a dis­ap­pointed look! ‘It’s never go­ing to hap­pen, is it?’ I said to Mark one day. ‘We’re never go­ing to have a baby.’ ‘I don’t think so,’ he agreed, sad­ness in his eyes. We de­cided to stop the fer­til­ity treat­ment. I was heart­bro­ken, but Tia was my rock. As the years went by, I came to re­alise that we had Tia and that was good enough for both of us. In 2014, my IVF was long over, but I felt in­cred­i­bly tired all the time. Mark and I were busy ren­o­vat­ing the house, but I just didn’t have the en­ergy to pick up a paint­brush. I’d put on a bit of weight around my tummy and

made a note to cut back on my vis­its to the treat drawer!

One day, I was ly­ing on the sofa with Tia next to me, when she be­gan to paw at my stom­ach.

‘Stop that,’ I said, push­ing her gen­tly away.

But she kept do­ing it, ev­ery time she got the chance – paw­ing and sniff­ing round my tummy.

She'd con­stantly sniff around my ab­domen, too. It ac­tu­ally made me feel para­noid. ‘Do I smell?’ I asked Mark. But later that day, Tia's be­hav­iour went into over­drive.

With her paw, she kept push­ing me back on the bed. It was very force­ful. In the end, I got an­noyed with her and told her off.

But she wouldn't have any of it. Tia in­sisted on push­ing me back on the bed and sniff­ing my tummy.

Within five min­utes, I was in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain. I screamed for Mark's help.

He took one look at me and called an am­bu­lance.

I was rushed straight to hos­pi­tal. The medics dis­cov­ered I had a huge growth on my ovary and it had twisted. It was the size of a small rugby ball, ap­par­ently!

I was im­me­di­ately op­er­ated on to re­move the tu­mour and my ovary with it. I was in so much pain when I came around that I was put on mor­phine for the first time ever.

I dread to think what would have hap­pened if I had lifted a heavy power tool while ren­o­vat­ing our home. The tu­mour prob­a­bly would have burst.

Life-saver

Tia re­ally did save my life. I truly be­lieve she was sent to us es­pe­cially to help me.

Whether it was an­gels, spirit, or some­thing else, some­one ‘up there’ had been look­ing out for me. They sent Tia to me just when I needed her most.

She came into my life to teach me about love, to make me whole again.

She’s al­ways been there for me. We have such a strong bond, it’s like a psy­chic con­nec­tion. She knows me bet­ter than most peo­ple do!

And, in a funny sort of way, I got my wish.

She not only saved my life but Tia is my child!

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