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Two NI families on how having a boisterous dog changed their lives for the better during the pandemic

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Mairead McAvoy with daughters Ella and Nancy and family dog Murphy

Mairead McAvoy with daughters Ella and Nancy and family dog Murphy

Stephen Hamilton

Joe Boyd from Ballymena and his dog Yogi

Joe Boyd from Ballymena and his dog Yogi

Stephen Hamilton

Ella McAvoy with Murphy

Ella McAvoy with Murphy

Stephen Hamilton

Mairead McAvoy pictured with their family Cockapoo Murphy

Mairead McAvoy pictured with their family Cockapoo Murphy

Stephen Hamilton

Joe Boyd with Yogi

Joe Boyd with Yogi

Stephen Hamilton

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Mairead McAvoy with daughters Ella and Nancy and family dog Murphy

They were credited with saving our sanity during the social isolation of lockdown, so it’s no surprise that a staggering 3.2 million people in the UK became pet owners for the first time during the pandemic.

Belfast schoolteacher Mairead McAvoy resisted her daughter Ella’s pleas for a puppy for several years, but finally caved in during the first lockdown in March 2020.


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