Edinburgh assistance dog Millie-Bear who helps owner manage PTSD and autism crowned Pet Hero of the Year
Milly-Bear, a chocolate labrador from Edinburgh, has been crowned Pet Hero of the Year
A heroic Edinburgh assistance dog has been given an award for her dedication to her owner.
Milly-Bear, a chocolate labrador, has been crowned Pet Hero of the Year, in the first ever Pet Hero competition, run by Safe, which supplies locks and safes to homes across the UK.
Milly-Bear was nominated by her owner Sarah Kelly, from Edinburgh, as she helps Ms Kelly manage her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autism.
Ms Kelly, 35, said she ‘couldn’t imagine’ life without Milly-Bear, who came into her life nearly seven months ago.
Ms Kelly saw the Pet Hero of the Year competition advertised on Facebook and decided to enter Milly-Bear to raise awareness about assistance dogs. The award was open to all pets, from cats to dogs to hamsters.
Milly-Bear was then chosen as overall winner by judges from Safe.
“I didn’t enter because I thought she would win, and I was surprised when she did,” Ms Kelly said.
“I entered because I’m aware that not many people in Edinburgh understand what she does and why she’s there.”
Ms Kelly said that many people mistake Milly-Bear, in her fluorescent pink assistance dog jacket, for a guide dog.
As an assistance dog, Milly-Bear has the right to accompany Ms Kelly into buildings and transport vehicles where dogs are not usually allowed, in a similar exception to that of guide dogs.
Ms Kelly said Milly-Bear’s presence is especially helpful in busy areas where there are a lot of other people, like at bus stops or in waiting rooms.
“People will give me more space when they see her. She’s given me a lot of confidence to go out to busy areas on my own,” Ms Kelly said.
“I just think to myself, when she’s there, everything will be fine.”
Ms Kelly was ‘over the moon’ to hear that Milly-Bear had got the recognition she deserves.
“She works super hard daily supporting my hidden disabilities and she deserves recognition,” she said.
“She alerts me to early PTSD and autism symptoms, giving me extra time to help myself. Milly-Bear reassures me in busy situations, she is my angel.”
Three other Edinburgh dogs made the shortlist for Pet Hero of the year.
Ms Kelly won a wi-fi camera to reassure her Milly-Bear is safe when she is not at home.
Anthony Neary, managing director for Safe, said: “What Milly-Bear does on a daily basis for Sarah is extraordinary and she is a deserving winner!
“It’s amazing the heroic actions our pets do for us.”