Terrific Teddy has won a prestigious RSPCA Animal award for helping his owner wake from a coma last December.
The four-year-old stole the show when he turned up at the awards ceremony on Saturday 17 June, with a bow-tie and his pawsome 'high fives'. The RSPCA Honours recognise people and organisations who have worked to end animal cruelty, and the Animal Award recognises an animal that has made a difference to someone's life or whose actions have helped in a potentially life threatening situation.
The Schnauzer Poodle cross came to his owner Andy Szasz aid by helping him out of a medically induced coma three days earlier than expected. Andy was admitted to intensive care with pneumonia, after overcoming bowel cancer. His wife Estelle got special permission from hospital staff to allow her to bring Andy's beloved pet in for a visit and she believes hearing Teddy's bark encouraged Andy to wake up. Since then, Teddy has been aiding Andy's recovery with frequent hospital visits and even video calls.
Teddy's actions could be seen as a 'thank you' to Andy for giving him a new life five years ago. The pair first met at the Stubbington Ark RSPCA animal shelter in Fareham, Hampshire, where Teddy had been desperately looking for a home after his first family could no longer care for him.
Michael Ward, RSPCA interim Chief Executive Officer, said, "Teddy is a brilliant example of the intense bond between dog and man.
"This little dog had a difficult start in life but was rescued by the RSPCA and rehomed by Andy.
"The connection between the two of them is so strong, that even in a coma, Andy responded to Teddy. It just shows how rewarding - and life-changing - giving a home to a rescue animal can be."
Andy, a civil engineer from Southampton agrees, "Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways. He's clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character! He really stole my heart when we first met five years ago.
"I always tell people I rescued Ted and Ted rescued me. We certainly do have a special bond.
"I was so proud of him at the Awards ceremony on Saturday. He behaved so well and wasn't fazed by anything. I think Ted and I got to meet every single person there and he high-fived most of them as well!
"We met many remarkable people who work for and on behalf of the RSPCA last weekend and we would like to say a big thank you to them all for helping bring Teddy into my life."
This year 30 winners, including six RSPCA officers, who have gone the extra mile for animals were awarded with RSPCA Honours including: celebrity chef and campaigner, Jamie Oliver, for work to improve chicken welfare; a grieving brother and sister who raised money for the RSPCA and a former firefighter who has pioneered large animal rescue techniques.