Labrador given award by the PDSA
A dog from Cardiff is the latest recipient of a prized devotion award from veterinary charity PDSA, for enriching the life of her owner and for being a loyal aid dog.
Black Labrador, Bella, was nominated for her PDSA Commendation by owner Wayne Mayor (50), from Barry, for helping to alert others if he is about to have a life-threatening collapse.
Wayne adopted Bella when she was just a tiny puppy and she has been his loyal companion ever since. Wayne suffers from a debilitating lung condition which makes living a 'normal' life very difficult. His condition also means he suffers from regular collapses.
Wayne said: "When I first took Bella on, I thought there was something wrong with her. She would suddenly bark, show her teeth and go mad. I didn't understand why she was behaving this way, but over time I noticed a pattern. She would always act strangely just before I had a collapse, and fell unconscious.
"We realised that Bella was alerting us that I was about to collapse. It's truly amazing - she's not been trained to do this. Now when she makes these warning signs, I know that I should sit down and take it easy."
Wayne is a single parent and Bella's assistance makes a tremendous difference to his life. Bella is always by Wayne's side and will even accompany him down the stairs, step-by-step, to ensure he is okay.
Wayne added: "Having Bella means I'm able to go for trips in my motorhome with my son. Without her looking out for me and alerting others that I'm having a fall or over-exerting myself, we just wouldn't be able to do this. Having Bella saves me the stress and embarrassment of collapse."
Bella was presented with the award by PDSA vet nurse Karen Jones, at a special ceremony at PDSA's Cardiff Pet Hospital, which Bella and Wayne regularly attended.
Karen said: "At PDSA, we know only too well the amazing impact that pets have on our lives. The PDSA Commendation recognises the outstanding devotion that animals display and celebrates the amazing ways that they enrich our lives. It is clear that Bella has had a massive impact on Wayne's life and is a worthy recipient of the PDSA Commendation. Some animals have an innate ability to sense danger and protect their owners. It's fantastic to help recognise Bella's inspirational capacity to do this with the PDSA's prestigious Commendation award."
Wayne concludes: "I'm so pleased that PDSA has given Bella the acknowledgement she really deserves. I am so proud of her - she has helped me in so many ways and I am so happy to celebrate with her. She is truly amazing and life wouldn't be the same without her!"