Meet the UK’s first doggy midwife who helped her pregnant owner through child birth inside a maternity ward.
Amee Tomkin’s assistance dog Belle is believed to be one of the first dogs in the UK ever to be allowed on a hospital labor ward.
The two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier accompanied Amee, 33, through fertility treatment, as well as scans and midwife appointments throughout her pregnancy.
And the dog was so well behaved that Milton Keynes University Hospital allowed her to support nervous Amee on the maternity ward before she had a caesarean in April.
The loyal pooch was even waiting for Amee as she came out of surgery and was the first to meet Olly, her new-born son.
Since she was a tiny pup, Belle has been trained by Amee to be an assistance dog, helping her deal with her autism, anxiety and panic attacks.
Amee, from Milton Keynes, said: “Belle was waiting patiently in the hospital room when I went to theatre 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.”
Amee bought Belle in 2021.
She has struggled with autism, OCD and anxiety throughout her life, but instantly felt a connection with the pup.
The now mom-of-one trained her up as an assistance dog, and from the beginning, it was clear Belle was a natural.
For the past eighteen months, the pup has accompanied Amee wherever she goes, and when she fell pregnant with her son Olly after 12 years of fertility treatment, nothing changed.
Together they attended appointments and scans throughout her entire pregnancy and Amee says her midwife was taken aback by Belle’s beautifully calm nature.
Amee said: “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.
“Basically, without her, I’m too anxious to leave the house. I’d just stay indoors all day and every day.
“She came with me to all my appointments during my pregnancy and kept me calm – I couldn’t have done it without her.”
The prospect of giving birth without Belle by her side was worrying for Amee, so her midwife asked Milton Keynes University Hospital if she could accompany her on the ward.
They agreed, and doctors allowed her dog to sleep on Amee’s hospital bed, where she’d rest her nose gently on her bump, near her belly button.
Amee went for a C-section in April, and Belle was right where they’d left her when she returned with her health new born son, Olly.
Amie said: “It was as though she was checking the baby’s heartbeat when I was pregnant.
“She even learned to tell the difference between the baby’s heartbeat and my own… It was such a reassurance.
“It was decided a C-Section would be better for my anxiety and autism as I’d know exactly what was happening.
“Belle was allowed to stay with me before I went went to theatre and we were given our own room so she could stay with me and the baby afterwards.
“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.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Asad Ali