It’s a scientific fact that pets are good for our health – physically, mentally and emotionally. For Army families, our furry, feathery or scaly friends can be a huge source of comfort, giving us a sense of purpose and preventing loneliness. When we move around, our pets can be our constant when everything else in life is changing. They’re an excuse to be sociable in our new community and online too – how many of you regularly post photos of your pets on social media? If you have children, pets are perfect for teaching them responsibilities and mutual trust. We invited Army families to send us their favourite animal pictures and here we reveal what pets mean to some of you…
JAZZ & SPIKE, Sarah Howarth
WE have three cats and, for us, they provide consistency, love and affection in our ever-changing lifestyle. They are always there when we get home, however long one of us might have been away. I wouldn’t be without them – they give us so much joy.
They’re very calming after my husband has a stressful day at work, and they keep me occupied when I’m looking for a job if we’ve just moved to a new posting.
DAISY THE LABRADOR, Nikki Higgins
DAISY brings a calming and centred effect to a somewhat stressful Army family life. She is most definitely a member of the family and not just a pet.
She’s listened to many tearful conversations and never judged, but just given a cuddle in return. She provides company and comfort to all of us and a good giggle during her ‘crazy Daisy’ moments, running around playing with her toys.
LOUIS THE KING CHARLES SPANIEL, Nicci Shayler
LOUIS has brought consistency. From when we first became an Army family and I moved out of my childhood home with him, through deployments, exercises and more – he’s always been there with a waggy tail and warm cuddle.
He pines for my soldier when he is away, which is heart-breaking at times, but it shows me how much he loves our family – just as much as we love him!
CEILIDH, DORIS & MOLLY, Nik Kellock
MY pets mean the world to me especially as my husband is away a lot. They are companions – there’s nothing better than a crisp winter morning walk with pets in tow!
CHARLIE GIRL THE SPROCKER, Nichola Evans
CHARLIE is our world. As an Army family she is better than any therapy/counselling which you may need to get through tough times. She’s our constant unconditional bundle of love.
BRUCE THE PUG, Ceri Wareing
PETS are companionship and morale through the toughest tours, detachments and everything else in-between. Our dog Bruce, also known as Private Wareing, spends most days wandering the top corridor of 60 Sqn, 4 Regt RLC when my husband is home.
He’s become somewhat of a squadron mascot and is often stolen by other squadrons with ransom notes for his release. Once he returned with dog tags around his neck featuring the name ‘Dave’ – another name to add to his aliases!
He ‘helps’ to move drops around the airfield, steals chicken nuggets from the guys and girls on night guard and has adopted a female soldier as his work-based ‘mum’.
LUNA & LOTTIE, Jackie Daly
OUR beautiful dogs were rescued from Ay Nik animal welfare in Cyprus. Lottie was dumped on a beach in a carrier bag with her brother and sister at six weeks old and Luna our Malamute-cross-Husky (kind of) was found running around the camp and was then rescued.
They mean so much to our family. They help my son, who has chromosome issues, with behaviour and understanding and they provide us with some stability when we move around.
As I’m not working they give me something to do after I’ve finished the housework. We go out walking – as long as it’s not raining as Lottie hates it!