If you are yet to be convinced that Staffies are a truly wonderful breed, Romeo might just change your mind. The five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross has just been awarded the Blue Cross Medal for 2016, an award that seeks to recognise heroic pets.
Romeo is always helping others. He is a registered Pets As Therapy dog, bringing love and smiles to care home residents and hospital patients, and is also a regular canine blood donor for the Royal Veterinary College. By donating every few months for the last two years, Romeo has helped to save to the lives of many dogs in need.
Romeo’s owner Steph Hartley said, “I’m so proud of Romeo, he’s such a special and kind dog – it just seems to be built into him to take care of people. He adores people and exercise, so he really enjoys all the things we do together, from visiting hospitals to going on runs and doing agility together – he’s a real ambassador for his breed.”
Steph first realised Romeo’s special qualities when he was introduced to her 95-year-old grandmother. The dog was so gentle and understanding, she knew he had so much to give.
She added, “Romeo became Nan’s best friend and unofficial therapy dog. Watching them together made me realise the qualities that Romeo has and led me to look into how he could use them to make a difference.”
Romeo has even helped little family members overcome their fear of dogs. The niece and nephew of Steph’s partner, Mimi and Sidney, now love Romeo so much that they even managed to persuade their mum to get them a dog of their own.
Mimi said, “I used to be very scared of dogs and would hide behind my mum if I met any. When I first met Romeo I screamed and he moved away. After a while he came back and sniffed me, then licked me. He was very quiet and gentle and we are now great friends – we walk together and play football and I am no longer scared of him or any other dogs.”
TV presenter Chris Packham, one of the judges on the medal panel, said, "Romeo sounds like an amazing dog and he is a really deserving winner of the Blue Cross medal. Staffies sadly do suffer from a bad reputation and Romeo completely transforms the stereotype for this lovely breed with all the incredible ways he helps out people and other dogs. He even gives blood - what a dog!"
Featured image via Helen Yates - All Rights Reserved
All images via Blue Cross