Charlotte Beard from Dorset, England, suffers from many health conditions, including non-epileptic seizures and a heart condition. She also has post-traumatic stress disorder after going through three miscarriages in the last few years. But her fourth pregnancy resulted in a beautiful baby boy, and she credits her assistance dog for part of the successful birth.
Her Maltese named Flump is known as the first dog in the UK to be a “medical aid” during a human pregnancy. He made sure his mom stayed healthy and as comfortable as possible while she gave birth. Beard believes more people should be able to have a birth experience like hers.
Always By Her Side
A doctor suggested Beard get an assistance dog after she had to give up her job for medical reasons. So, Beard brought Flump home when the pup was only ten weeks old. Beard and her boyfriend, Ash Pheonix, had gone through three miscarriages while trying to start a family. Flump had been there to support them every step of the way.
During Beard’s most recent pregnancy, she worried about how her PTSD could negatively affect the birth. She brought Flump to the hospital with her for support, referring to the pup as a “medical aid.”
“We say Flump is like my partner or an extension of myself. The idea of doing such a momentous moment in my life, also such a vulnerable point, without Flump by my side just didn’t seem right,” said Beard.
Flump stayed beside his mom as much as possible at the hospital. Pheonix ensured that the pup had occasional breaks and walks as needed. The only time Flump wasn’t in the room, besides his breaks, was during Beard’s C-section.
Dog Brings Family Together
Beard gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Alfie. Even before Alfie was born, Beard believed that Flump shared a special bond with him. Flump stayed at the hospital with Beard and Alfie for five days following the birth.
Now, Beard hopes her story makes assistant dogs more common during pregnancies. They’re not allowed in all hospitals, but some people need a furry friend by their side in stressful situations like birth. Even just petting a dog can relax people and bring them joy.
“You wouldn’t ask someone to go to the hospital without their wheelchair so, as long as it’s reasonable, an assistance dog has the right to attend and assist their handler,” said Beard.
Beard’s health conditions hold her back in many ways, but she won’t let them stop her from giving her family the best life possible. Alfie and Flump are both very loved, and they’re lucky to have each other. It’s amazing how having a dog by our sides can make our lives so much better!