Assistance dog Flora has been awarded an Honour for regularly saving her owner’s life and is believed to be the only assistance dog Akita in the UK.
Her owner Robert Stuhldreer is affected by seizures which he suffers without warning and has in the past required hospital treatment for injuries sustained during these episodes.
Despite no formal training, Flora has the amazing ability to predict these seizures and warn Robert so that he can put himself in a place of safety.
The life-saving Akita, who is now a registered assistance dog with Canine Generated Independence, received her award at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London hosted by Alastair Stewart OBE on July 11.
Robert, who lives in Holloway, said, “I am so proud of Flora, she deserves this award as she has helped me in so many ways – she liberates me and enables me to feel a more active part of society whilst increasing my feelings of independence and self worth.”
Recalling a time when he was left unconscious after a seizure and Flora gained access to a shared communal hallway, Robert said, “Flora went to our front door, pulled the handle down, opened our internal front door, went down a flight of stairs and scratched on the neighbours front door to summon help. I have no doubt that if she hadn’t acted I would not be here today.”
He adds, “Flora is truly a dog of a lifetime. Because of her she has totally transformed my life. It’s actually hard to put into words just what this wonderful girl means to me.”
As Akita Ambassador, Flora represents her breed which is not often associated with assistance dog work. She is the very first and currently believed to be the only one of her breed to have qualified and be working as an Assistance Dog in the UK.
Deputy Chief Executive Chris Wainwright said, “The RSPCA Honours is a fantastic event that the RSPCA is extremely proud of. The evening showcases the work of those who go the extra mile to show compassion and dedication to animals.
“There have been so many inspirational and heartwarming stories and we hope the awards have helped to highlight the positive power of animals and the impact they have on our lives.”