In a first for a British hospital, Belle the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was granted special permission to aid her owner.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be a stressful time in any woman’s life — and for dads too, in their own way! However, for women who are living with often debilitating conditions such as autism or anxiety, the whole process can be particularly daunting.
So, it was heartening to see that Milton Keynes University Hospital, in England, went above and beyond to help 33-year-old Amee Tomkin when she recently gave birth.
Tomkin, who has autism and has to contend with anxiety and panic attacks, was able to bring her assistance dog, Belle, to her hospital appointments and into the actual labor ward as she prepared to give birth to her son Olly in April.
The two-year-old pup has proven indispensable to Tomkin since the two met. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has enabled Tomkin, who also suffers from OCD, to leave the house, as she explained to Birmingham Live:
Belle can detect symptoms of a panic attack, and does things like help me find exits in crowded places if she senses I’m feeling anxious. She presses buttons on lifts and she even holds my debit card against the machine to pay for things when we’re shopping.
The new mom added: “Basically, without her, I’m too anxious to leave the house. I’d just stay indoors all day and every day.”
Thankfully her midwives realized the extent Tomkin needed her four-legged friend. They organized things for her to have Belle by her side for most of her hospital stay.
A testing time for mom and Belle
In fact, her medical team had agreed that Tomkin should have a C-section to deliver her son as she’d be more prepared with what to expect on the big day. And the only time Belle was not with her was when she was in the operating room.
The staff went to extra efforts to ensure the labor ward was kept as sterile as possible. They even gave Tomkin her own room so she could recover in peace, with her furry friend lying on her bed.
Belle had to go through some stringent tests to make sure she’d be up for the job of canine midwife. Not only did the helpful hound have to prove she could cope with the hustle and bustle of the ward, but she also had to show that she could endure seeing her owner in pain.
And on the big day, Belle passed the test with flying colors.
“Belle was waiting patiently in the hospital room when I went to have my baby. And when I was wheeled back, she was the first to meet Olly — I couldn’t have done it without her,” shared the first-time mom, who added, “As soon as she saw Olly, she gently sniffed him then gave his face a tiny lick to welcome him. Since then, she has never left his side.”
The story shows just how compassionate the medical professionals were in helping Tomkin, but also reminds us how all of God’s creatures should be cherished for the wonders they are.