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There has been endless evidence that sleeping with dogs is good for your health, and our very own television Royalty Debbie Arnold is walking proof.

‘I didn’t intend to have 4 dogs, in fact if you said to me what breed of was my least favorite, I would have said a chihuahua or a Labrador… how the Gods must’ve laughed! – Its no wonder when you are friends with doggie royalty Paul O’Grady

Debbie and the gang

So how did this happen…. I’ve always been owned by dogs.   First of all there was Ricky who was a poodle.  I met him when I was 7 and he was my friend/brother growing up. Then came Lover.  He was the first dog I chose for myself.

I was starring in a play in the West End, was newly divorced and had decided that a dog was far better than a man.  Lover, true to his name, adored taking my underwear and I’m sure my neighbours at the time were quite shocked to hear me screaming ‘Lover drop my knickers NOW’ – God knows what they thought went on on my house.!

Then came Legend, a beautiful Tibetan Terrier rescue. Our first dog as a family. He was diagnosed with diabetes aged 5 and we had to give him injections him twice a day.  Due to our vet’s incredible groundbreaking treatment he changed the way diabetes was treated in dogs –  so the name Legend was perfect.  He lived till he was 13 -a gorgeous, brave and wonderful dog.

When we lost Legend I decided I wouldn’t get another dog, especially not a Tibetan.  But 3 weeks later I was at the rescue home again and came back with his doppelgänger…the vets were so shocked when they saw him as he was his exact twin. We named him Disney, and he was my beautiful ‘crackers’ boy!

After looking after a very sick dog for so long, it was fun to have a lunatic around. He was 2 years old, had never been housetrained, and had never been inside a house, so when he saw me go upstairs he followed in trepidation. Then when I went back down, he looked at me from the top of the stairs and threw himself doing a double somersault down the stairs, and landed by the front door. He never really mastered the art of climbing stairs!

Adventures with Disney were hilarious. One day when I was trying to housetrain him, I let him out on the large balcony outside my bedroom for a wee.  It was around 5am and I didn’t want to go downstairs – I went back to bed, fell briefly asleep, and then went to open the door to let him in. He’d disappeared. It was the summer and it was quite light. I looked in the garden thinking he may have jumped down, but he was nowhere to be seen.

Something made me look up and there he was standing on the roof! I have no idea to this day how he got there, but there he was. I woke my husband up screaming ‘Disney is stuck on the roof’.   He went into the garden, and climbed up a ladder onto the roof to rescue him. I was yelling ‘Dont Jump Dis stay where you are’!  Another challenge for the long suffering neighbours!  On another occasion Disney climbed down the wisteria after he locked himself in another bedroom. He certainly had adventures!

Disney’s life totally changed when my eldest daughter brought home Beanie the chihuahua. This 12 week old puppy just melted his heart and he adored her – he was 10 when she arrived and he was running around like a maniac. My daughter went on tour and Beanie stayed with me. We were a lovely canine family of 2 for six years when my youngest daughter had a breakup with her boyfriend.  So we all felt that a good way to recover from heartbreak was for her to get a dog of her own.

This is how Lady arrived. She was a young Springador puppy – needing loads of exercise. Disney was 16 by now and pretty grumpy so greeted this new puppy with great hostility. He was an old man after all.   Meanwhile, Beanie was fine as always – a very amicable little soul.

But when Lady was 5 months old Disney died and our hearts were broken.   He really had been the best boy who’d brought us so much pleasure.   He had a fantastic good long life and a very happy one, but he was sadly missed.

Both daughters are performers and were away from home a great deal, and so there I was caring for 2 dogs that technically were not mine.

Then 2 years ago Lady fell in love with my son-in-laws’ lab and they had 8 puppies.  As an avid dog lover, I in turn fell in love with two of the puppies, and the rest is history.   I am now the proud owner of four dogs.

Smile for the camera

Finally, and you have probably guessed what I am about to tell you, all four dogs now sleep with me.  Is sleeping with dogs good for your health?  It’s a resounding yes from me, and in fact I would thoroughly recommend it.

Check out Debbie Arnold’s Showreel & Voicereel: bit.ly/debar19
or her website: debbiearnold.com

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