Whizz, the hero dog who saved 9 Humans – and another dog – from drowning has been honored with a posthumous award by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a U.K.-based veterinary charity, after passing away at the age of 12.
Newfoundlands make excellent water rescue dogs, not only because of their strength and large size, but also because of their webbed toes that help them swim. Whizz served as a water rescue dog, and spent most of his life dedicated to patrolling the Bristol Channel and the River Severn with the Royal Navy Rescue.
Apart from saving the lives of drowning humans, Whizz also enriched the lives of hundreds of people as a therapy dog. Whizz worked alongside his owner David Pugh, in his charity Newfound Friends, which has the Newfoundland dogs raising money for charity to help sick children. And so far, the dogs have raised more than £750,000. CLIC Sargeant – the children and young person’s cancer charity – and the oncology unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital have benefited from the fundraising by these dogs.
The PDSA Order of Merit – known as the animals’ OBE – was presented to Whizz’s cousin, Tizz, and Mr Pugh at a ceremony in London. Whizz is the third dog to receive the award, which recognizes animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society, above and beyond normal companionship.
Whizz rose to fame in 2007 when he was hailed a hero for plunging into an icy pool to save another dog from drowning.
In August 2008, he pulled two girls to safety after they drifted out to sea in an inflatable dinghy at Oxwich beach in Wales and capsized.
Toni Curtis, who Whizz rescued when she had an asthma attack at the beach in 2011, described the experience, “I was sure that nobody would see me and panic really set in. The next thing I knew I heard a muffled voice, telling me to ‘grab the dog’ and before I knew it, I was being pulled to the safety of the lifeboat. Whizz had saved me and I will be forever in his debt.”
‘I am bursting with pride for Whizz. He was a dog in a million and I am truly heartbroken that he isn’t here to receive his medal. He loved working and had an extraordinary talent. Not only was he strong and gentle – he was also so emotionally intuitive.’
~David Pugh, Whizz’s pet parent
Whizz may have lived for 12 short years but he made a sheer impact in the lives of those who came across him. RIP Whizz.