Pawsitive Tales

Sharing heartwarming tales of animals and their humans.

Sara, Charlie and Keith — June 1, 2022

Sara, Charlie and Keith

~ Sara, Charlie and Keith ~

Nine years ago, Sara and her daughter, Charlie, met Keith, a black and white cat, who had been waiting day in, day out, for his forever home. From the moment they laid eyes on him, they knew he had found his forever home. 

In 2013, while volunteering at a local cat rescue, Sara and Charlie met a very sick little black and white kitten. He was brought in with the cat flu and had gastrointestinal issues. After a month, he still wasn’t getting any better. Charlie had fallen in love with him. He would follow her everywhere and climb on her shoulders as she worked with Sara at the rescue. 

Because of how much he had impacted her daughter, Sara decided to take him to a vet and got as many tests done as possible. Before adopting him, she wanted to make sure it was safe as she already had several other cats at home. The very next day, being Charlie’s 10th birthday, they went to the rescue and adopted the kitten! From that moment, he had found his forever home and a new name – Keith. 

While he had many health issues, Keith shared his big personality with everyone. It took four months of close monitoring but Sara helped nurse him to health. What has been really special is the bond that he and Charlie share. As someone with autism, Charlie found it hard to interact with her peers. Keith became her best friend and helped provide her with that connection. He waits for her every day to return from school and happily plays with her whenever she wants to. 

Early on, Sara found that Keith had a passion for arts and crafts. He has become quite an artist and does a lot of paintings. As well as this, he is also happy to help Charlie in any arts and crafts project she may be working on. 

Having Keith has brought so much joy into Sara’s life. Wherever he goes, he spreads happiness. Even on days that are challenging, having Keith makes everything a bit brighter. There’s just something about him that makes people smile, no matter what.

At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, Charlie wanted to start an Instagram account for Keith, to share the joy he brings her with the world. Through this page, they share the ups and downs that Keith experiences as a result of his health issues, both physical and mental. However, Sara and Charlie hope that by sharing Keith with the world, they’re also sharing the positivity he brings. 

The impact that Keith has had on his humans has been huge. He has brought so much happiness and love into Sara and Charlie’s lives. Each day since adopting him has been made so much better simply because he’s there for them. 

Sara and Samwise — May 20, 2022

Sara and Samwise

~ Sara and Samwise ~

Five years ago, Sara met Yellow Labrador pup, Samwise. Since then, Samwise has had a huge impact on his human’s life and they have formed a very special bond. In the time they’ve been a team, Samwise has given Sara freedom and, as a result, more confidence and independence. 

Sara has struggled with schizoaffective disorder and syncope issues. This can impact her in many ways, from dizziness to hallucinations brought on by anxiety, among other symptoms. It was because of this that Sara decided that getting a service dog would be helpful.

In 2017, Sara heard of a litter of Labrador puppies with one puppy in particular, Samwise, who was a good candidate. After some behavioural tests, he was top of the litter! Samwise had an even temper and enjoyed being around people. He was perfect. However, when Sara went to pick him up, he let out a very loud and opinionated squeal, and she knew they had some work to do. 

It took some time, but Samwise has become a life-changing companion for Sara. He has helped her to have more independence and confidence when out in the community. From blocking people who may be approaching her when out and about, to interrupting certain behaviours that indicate sensory overload or a psychotic episode may be about to happen. When he interrupts these behaviours, he helps to remind Sara to take her emergency medications and to prevent the situation from escalating. As well as this, he also helps by picking up items, turning on lights, and steadies Sara when she feels dizzy. 

Not only does Samwise help her through performing tasks, but also simply being a companion. Sara feels safer with him by her side and he has helped break down barriers for her socially. Before having Samwise, Sara had to have someone with her when she went out. Now, she has the freedom to go out and do what she wants. People would often make negative comments, stare or would move away if she were symptomatic. With Samwise by her side, people see him. They see a beautiful dog and talk to Sara about him. 

During Christmas one year, Sara, Samwise and their family went to Longwood Gardens to watch the Christmas light show. This was a huge experience for Sara and one that Samwise helped her to accomplish. Crowds can be overwhelming for her and, when she’s anxious, she can experience hallucinations. Sara felt confident having his support and it was something she was able to fully enjoy the moment with her family. 

One of their favourite things to do together is trick training. It’s helped to further strengthen their bond and is something they enjoy doing. Not only is it fun, but Sara and Samwise enjoy showing others all the cool tricks that he has learnt. When they’re just wanting to relax, however, both Sara and Samwise simply enjoy being in each other’s company. 

Having Samwise has been life-changing for Sara. He has given her the freedom to live her life how she wants to as she knows he’s always by her side. He’s inspired her to advocate for those with disabilities, to volunteer, and help train service dogs. To Sara, Samwise represents everything she has worked for and continues to work for. They truly share such a beautiful bond and have had such a huge impact on one another.