Gentle giant awarded Blue Cross Medal 2022
- Chased off burglars and retrieved stolen items
- Saved cats from house fire
- Alerts owner to health attacks and provides day to day physical support
Blue Cross pet charity has awarded its 2022 medal to Storm, a 12 year old Alaskan Malamute, for performing dramatic acts to keep his owners and their cats safe and for going the extra mile to support them in their daily lives.
In 2019 Storm stepped in to protect his owner, Karen Crosby of Wavertree in Liverpool, when burglars entered her property in the early hours. Although it is suspected he had been drugged, Storm prevented the thieves from getting upstairs where Karen was sleeping and escorted them out. He even made them drop their stash which allowed police to later take fingerprints. Storm sought help from a passer-by who notified the police, who later told Karen that Storm may have saved her from serious injury.
This year, which is the 125 anniversary of Blue Cross, there were over 650 nominations for pets considered ‘heroes’ by their owners. 70% were for dogs, 23% for cats and other pets nominated included horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and chinchillas. Over half (51.9%) of the nominations were for pets who help their owners day to day with mental health issues, some even prevent self-harm and attempts at suicide. Over 10% of the nominations were for pets helping children’s mental health, either within the family or in their local community by visiting schools and youth groups.
In May this year, Storm stepped in again in with another act of incredible bravery. Karen was out shopping when a neighbour called to tell her that her house was on fire. She had left Storm inside with her three cats, Pushkin, Moonlight and Pippin. When Karen returned she saw that Storm had pushed two of the cats through a window. Sadly, Pushkin had collapsed due to smoke inhalation but was resuscitated by firemen and placed in an oxygen tent, but the two cats Storm managed to save were found to be well. Storm was waiting patiently by the kitchen door to be rescued himself when help arrived.
Karen said: “The fire brigade could not believe how Storm saved two of my cats and trusted that help would soon arrive. The police were so impressed they personally took him down the road to his vet to check hadn’t inhaled the smoke or been harmed. The officer would not leave his side and said he was as good as a trained police dog.”
In his less dramatic day-to-day life, Storm is still a hero to his family. He was an assistance dog to Karen’s husband Phil, who had two brain injuries and developed epilepsy and vascular dementia. Before he moved into a care home, Storm would help with his walking and gently nudge him if he wasn’t walking in a straight line. He continues to do this for Karen who has degenerative disc disease and little sensation in her left leg. She also has visual field problems and Storm helps her to check the traffic before Karen crosses a road. He also alerts her to the telephone and doorbell as she has tinnitus in both ears.
Chris Burghes, Blue Cross Chief Executive said: “Being on the judging panel for the winner of this year’s award was an almost impossible task. We were particularly moved by the number of pets who really do help their owners’ mental health, some even preventing their owners from taking their own lives. It was a very close call but Storm came out on top, he is an amazing pet that has been such a valued member of the family when they have gone through so much. Congratulations to him and each and every pet who supports their owners in both day to day life and by doing incredible acts like Storm.”
With further daily support for Karen, Storm senses and alerts her before she has an attack due to her fibromyalgia and asthma. If an attack is imminent, he won’t leave her side and comforts her with the pain.
Karen continued: “Storm is a hero to me for everything he has done and continues to do. He was the runt of the litter but has proved himself to be anything but. I’m over the moon that he has won the Blue Cross medal, it was amazing news. I never expected he would win and I’m so proud of him.”
The Blue Cross medal began in 1917 during World War One for people who helped animals and today celebrates heroic pets who are changing or saving lives across the UK – with one extra special pet being awarded the winning medal each year.
The first animal to be given the award was in 1940 to a dog called ‘La Cloche’ for saving his owner, a French sailor, from drowning after a German torpedo hit their ship. Not being able to swim, La Cloche jumped in and dragged him to safety on a raft.
2022 is the 125th anniversary of Blue Cross, originally ‘Our Dumb Friends League’. The charity formed to help vulnerable pets and their owners and we continue this work today across our rehoming, clinical, animal behaviour, pet bereavement support and educational work. We are striving to be able to help even more pets in the future live healthy lives in happy homes. Blue Cross relies on the support and donations of pet lovers to continue our vital work, to find out more and make a donation visit www.bluecross.org.uk/125-years-of-blue-cross