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A Staffordshire Bull Terrier is now the UK’s “first doggy midwife” for assisting her owner during labor in a hospital in Buckinghamshire, England.
Belle, the two-year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, accompanied her owner, 33-year-old Amee Tomkins, throughout her whole pregnancy journey.
Belle was with Tomkins in the ambulance, intensive care, and in the labor ward after giving birth. And for her stellar work, the pooch won UK’s Pet of the Year 2023.
Tomkins said, “She was the first dog ever to be allowed on the Labour Ward at MK Hospital. It was amazing.”
According to BBC, after seeing the benefits of having Belle beside Tomkins during her pregnancy, a midwife suggested that the pooch be allowed into the ward.
Tomkins explained, “It was decided a C-Section would be better for my anxiety and autism as I’d know exactly what was happening.”
She continued, “Belle was allowed to stay with me before I went to theatre and we were given our own room so she could stay with me and the baby afterwards. I was really happy with that. There was simply no way I could have done it without her.”
But it wasn’t easy to get Belle inside the ward. Tomkins told BBC that her service dog had to pass a risk assessment before being granted access to the labor ward.
Tomkins proudly reveals, “She just passed it all, they were amazed by her.”
From fertility treatment, to midwife appointments and now, child birth, Belle has been assisting Tomkins since she was a puppy.
According to BBC, Tomkins has trained Belle to be her service dog, with the help of an animal behaviorist, to help her with her autism, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Tomkins recognized her midwife for being fabulous at her job, but said “having Belle with me is like having another midwife there all the time, to keep me calm and check on myself and Olly.”