A support dog has won the Blue Cross Medal for saving its owner’s life after burglars broke into their home, and for saving the family cats from a house fire.
Storm, a 12-year-old Alaskan Malamute, received the award for his bravery during the two occasions, firstly for saving his owner Karen Crosby’s life in 2019 when thieves broke in.
Not only did he chase the burglars from 64-year-old Karen’s house, he forced them to drop the valuables and retrieve them. He also alerted a passer-by who contacted the police.
In May this year, Storm rescued two pet cats from their home after it caught fire while Karen was out.
Storm and her other pets were all trapped indoors. As the house filled with smoke, he pushed the two cats to safety out of a window, while calmly taking himself to the kitchen door where he waited to be rescued.
Owner Karen, from Wavertree in Liverpool, said: “Storm is a hero to me for everything he has done and continues to do.
“I’m over the moon that he has won the Blue Cross medal. It was amazing news. I never expected he would win and I’m so proud of him.”
He was awarded the medal on the 125th anniversary of the Blue Cross, being chosen from 650 nominations of pets by their owners. The animal welfare charity was set up in order to help vulnerable pets and their owners.
As a support dog, Storm assists Karen and her partner, Phil, 69, who both suffer from health problems.
Phil, who moved into care, had sustained two brain injuries and developed epilepsy and vascular dementia. When he lived at home, Storm helped him with his walking, nudging him if he wasn’t walking in a straight line.
Storm still does this for Karen, who has degenerative disc disease, little sensation in her left leg, visual field problems, tinnitus and asthma.
He supports her with a whole host of day-to-day tasks, such as alerting her to the phone and doorbell, and helping her cross the road.
He can also sense if an asthma attack is imminent
On rescuing her other pets from their home on his own accord, Karen said: “The fire brigade could not believe how Storm saved two of my cats and trusted that help would soon arrive.
“The police were so impressed they personally took him down the road to his vet to check hadn’t inhaled the smoke or been harmed.
“The officer would not leave his side and said he was as good as a trained police dog.”
Chris Burghes, Blue Cross chief executive, on choosing this years winner, said: “We were particularly moved by the number of pets who really do help their owners’ mental health, some even preventing their owners from taking their own lives.
“It was a very close call, but Storm came out on top, he is an amazing pet that has been such a valued member of the family when they have gone through so much.
“Congratulations to him and each and every pet who supports their owners in both day-to-day life and by doing incredible acts like Storm.”