UK Woman Has Doggy Doula Dream Job
Meet Nicole Bottomley, a puppy midwife/doggy doula from Warwickshire, England. She is a midwife to guide dogs who give birth with Guide Dogs UK, and she is involved in helping guide dog mamas give birth to their puppies by the hundreds each year.
She started volunteering for the charity when she was eighteen-years-old, and now 40 years later, she is officially a Brood Bitch Supervisor. Growing up, she’d see the guide-dogs-to be in training around her town, and she always knew she wanted to do something with the dogs. She worked for a vet’s office for a while, before she was able to get on with the team at Guide Dogs, and eventually to being a doggy doula.
Nicole is married to her husband Matthew, who is the head of breeding operations at Guide Dogs UK. She started as a kennel assistant for the organization but when she returned full-time after having and raising children, she joined her current teammates. They visit the dogs at the homes of volunteers, and they help deliver the puppies of the Guide Dogs in the program.
Nicole says that from the minute the mama Guide Dog is mated, she’s there every step of the way. She is present when the pregnancy confirmation ultrasounds happen and she does litter visits once the babies are born until they go back to the breeding centers when they are six-weeks-old. They then move quickly into their puppy-walking homes all over the country so they can be trained and acclimated to social situations.
They also go to training school, when they are a year-old, where they are matched with an owner with whom they also train for a few more weeks. Nicole is there for it all, but says the best is really being there when the babies are born.
She said that most of the births go smoothly but they are there to support if there are any problems. The delivery team works together to make sure both babies and mama does well, and are able to become guide dogs to help even more people. Not all the babies end up as guide dogs, but go to other UK charitable organizations and are rehomed.
So, the next time you hear someone talk about life being a bitch, think about Nicole–and how jealous you are that she has the best job in the world!
More by Lori Ennis