An RSPCA rescue dog who helped wake his adopter from a coma has now qualified as a Pets As Therapy dog, so he can bring joy and comfort to patients in the hospital that saved his owner’s life.
It’s amazing how animals affect our lives
In December 2016, five-year-old Teddy amazed staff at Southampton General Hospital when he helped wake his owner, Andy Szasz, from a medically induced coma. The civil engineer had been admitted to intensive care with pneumonia having overcome bowel cancer. He was placed into a medically induced coma and his wife, Estelle, sought special permission to bring his beloved dog in for a visit. She believes his barking encouraged Andy to wake three days earlier than expected.
The schnauzer-poodle cross was adopted from RSPCA’s Stubbington Ark shelter in Hampshire. Teddy and Andy have such a close bond that once Andy woke, the little dog continued to help speed up his owner’s recovery by making regular visits and video calls.
Andy said, “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in 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 won Teddy RSPCA’s Special Animal Award at the charity’s Honours in 2017, and now Teddy is able to help other patients at the Southampton hospital – as he’s enrolled as an official therapy dog with the charity Pets As Therapy (PAT).
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 peoples’ 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 affect 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.”
Images courtesy of the RSPCA