A couple who have faced a tragic battle to create a family have finally had their lives turned around ... by a little dog.
Caroline Denholm and her husband Alistair were grieving and at rock bottom after trying unsuccessfully for years to have a baby. Caroline underwent gruelling IVF treatment twice and suffered four miscarriages.
“It was the lowest time in my life,” she said. “It was devastating and it just got harder and harder. I hit rock bottom and withdrew into myself. I didn’t want to go out and see anybody.”
But a suggestion from a nurse that a dog could help relieve Caroline’s stress and anxiety while undergoing treatment led to heartbreak turning to joy for the couple, who live in Cuckfield.
“My husband got a dog as a surprise for me,” said Caroline. And the dog - a Tibetan terrier named Fernie - has proved a godsend.
“We got her as a puppy who could sit in your hand she was so tiny. It’s incredible how a little piece of fluff can just inspire you to come out of such a hard time.”
Now Fernie - who Caroline, 46, admits is her ‘baby’ - goes everywhere with the couple: to the local pub, hiking, on trains - and even joins them kayaking.
“We just can’t imagine life without her now.”
In fact Fernie has proved so inspirational that she has led to Caroline giving up her successful career in sales and launching a new on-line dog-product business: wwwfernieschoice.com which specialises in selling classic country-wear for dogs, including tweed and leather.
Caroline says that her attempts to start a family began at the age of 39 when she suddenly realised that friends and family were all having babies. She and her husband had been focused on their careers and had been travelling the world. She realised she desperately wanted a baby “but it just got harder and harder the older I was getting,” said Caroline.
But now the fluffy bundle of fun that is Fernie, the great great grandaughter of a Crufts winner, has once more made life complete for Caroline and Alistair.