Strictly’s Shirley Ballas says dog helped her cope with Covid and father’s death

Strictly’s Shirley Ballas says dog helped her cope with Covid and father’s death

Shirley Ballas has opened up about how her beloved pooch helped her cope with coronavirus and her father's death.

The 60-year-old TeamDogs ambassador battled Covid-19 for weeks and recently lost her dad.

She rescued her beloved pooch Charlie three-and-a-half years ago and said he's been her "everything" through such a difficult time.

In an interview with BBC Merseyside's Tony Snell, Shirley said her pooch was by her side during her Covid-19 battle and when she received the heartbreaking news about her dad.

The Strictly Come Dancing star said: "I'm just getting over five weeks of the coronavirus and I've been on my own and Charlie has sat at my feet, snuggled and cuddled and just looked at me.

"I had the passing of my father in the last few days and it's almost like he knows.

"I get emotional just talking about him. He is just really sincerely loyal, caring and kind. I have no words for my Charlie.

"Other people will come and go but that dog will be here until he decides he wants to go to doggy heaven. For me, he is my everything."

Shirley is urging pet owners to seek advice through the TeamDogs community as research carried out revealed one in five new dog owners admitted to pandemic puppy regret.

The dancer continued: "TeamDogs will direct all new dog lovers, or anybody actually, to be able to connect with other people about their dogs.

"When you get a dog it's for life and a lot of research is definitely necessary. They can bring so much joy but people need to understand that we have a community out there where you can connect with other dog owners and lovers who can help you with advice and support.

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"Please don't give up on them. If there's any chance at all that you can work it out go to the site and talk to other people. They are beautiful little souls and they’ll be the most loyal thing in your life."

As working from home comes to an end, Shirley urged owners to think about their pets.

She said: "You have to do some research and organise something for these little dogs. When I go back to work I have a team around me of people who will take him for a walk.

"You can't just leave them. They've been used to you for the whole year, their whole life for some, and we have to make provisions and think about them.

"They're like children and have feelings and if they could talk they would – Charlie would anyway. A dog is not just for a year, it’s for life."

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