A dog called Stormzy has been presented the first Hero Dog Award by Guide Dogs at its annual People Awards which took place last week.
Stormzy, a buddy dog, was nominated for being the ‘best life changer’ to 16-year-old Josselin from Wiltshire. Since they were partnered last year, the yellow Labrador x golden retriever Stormzy - who turned five last Thursday – has been by her side, travelling to different places, making hundreds of friends and accompanying Josselin to hospital appointments.
Josselin, who uses a powerchair, has been blind and deaf since birth and needs 24-hour care due to a rare condition called Charge syndrome. After having over 30 operations, Josselin often gets anxious of hospitals but having Stormzy by her side has a calming effect on her while she is at hospital.
While buddy dogs are not used for sighted assistance like guide dogs, they bring a new friend into the lives of children with sight loss and can help to develop their self-confidence, improve relationships, and build a greater sense of trust.
Josselin and Stormzy’s partnership was even noticed by the children's hospice they attend, and they were asked to be the stars of their Christmas appeal, helping them to raise over £50,000 for children living with life-limiting conditions.
Stormzy joined Josselin and Karen on stage to receive his Hero Dog Award from BBC Breakfast presenter Jon Kay, who also presented Josselin and Stormzy with a hamper of goodies. The award was for any dog at Guide Dogs – a guide dog, buddy dog, guide dog mum or dad – who is an everyday hero that has gone above and beyond.
He is much more than a dog to us, he is truly a special soul. He brightens somebody's day every single day. Stormzy walks Josselin out to the school bus in the morning and is there to greet her from the bus in the afternoon. He is the best life changer anybody could ever wish for.
Karen, Josselin’s mum
Rachel Graham, Buddy Dog Partner Specialist at Guide Dogs, says: “All our dogs are life-changers but it's so heart-warming to see Stormzy has won the very first Hero Dog Award at our People Awards. It’s great to see the difference one of our amazing buddy dogs has made to a young person’s life. Stormzy was a perfect match to Josselin and her family. He goes everywhere with them and is so proud to wear his buddy dog jacket.”
Our annual People Awards celebrate our incredible volunteers, service users and staff, shining a light on their huge contribution and outstanding achievements.
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