An RSPCA rescue dog who helped to wake his owner from a coma has qualified as a Pets As Therapy dog to help others.
Five-year old Teddy amazed staff at Southampton General Hospital when he woke his owner Andy Szasz from a medically-induced come in December 2016.
Civil engineer, Andy, had been admitted to intensive care with pneumonia having overcome bowl cancer and was placed in a medically induced coma.
Andy’s wife sought special permission from staff to allow her to bring in his beloved pet for a visit and she believes his barking encouraged Andy to wake three days earlier than expected.
Andy and Teddy, a schnauzer-poodle cross adopted from RSPCA’s Stubbington Ark shelter in Hampshire, had such a strong bond that once Andy woke, the little dog continued to help speed up his owners recover by making regular visits and even video calls.
Andy said: “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in so many ways. He’s clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character. He really stole my heart when we first met. I always tell people I rescued Ted and Ted rescued me. We certainly do have a special bond.”
The incredible story saw Teddy scooped the RSPCA’s special animal award at the charity’s Honours in 2017. And now, Teddy will be able to help other patients at the hospital that saved his owner’s life – as he’s now enrolled as an official therapy dog with the charity Pets As Therapy (PAT).
PAT provides a visit service to hospitals, hospices, care homes and schools across the country.
Andy said: “We had our interview at the hospital and were inducted in November, so we had our first visit just before Christmas. It was amazing to see the smiles on so many people’s faces. Not only the patients, but the nurses, the doctors and visitors alike.
“Ted was in his element, his little tail non-stop wagging and was unphased by anything, as usual. It was such a rewarding day for us both, and so amazing to see the effect animals have on people.
“I’m so proud of my little boy. It was my wish to make Ted a PAT dog to repay the wonderful work the charity does in cheering up patients and the fantastic hospital staff. And Teddy just loves all the cuddles he gets. It’s amazing how animals affect our lives.”