Meet Sox – the Hartlepool dog who has won a PDSA award
An “absolute dream” support dog from Hartlepool has done his owner proud after landing an unexpected award.
Assistance dog Sox has left his owner “terribly proud” after receiving a commendation from the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
It is given in recognition of acts of animal devotion or bravery and Sox’s owner Linda McFarlane has said PDSA awards are usually given to army or police service dogs.
Linda, who has had Sox for two years, has described him as “an absolute dream to live with”.
The lion dog supports Linda, who has autism, in some everyday activities and is also a show dog.
Linda, 43, said: “I’m terribly proud of him.
"To me, he’s just a normal pet dog that I take to dog shows.
"He’s my support dog, I don’t go in public without him. He helps me going out in public, crowded places. He helps me when it comes to crossing the road, making sure that it’s safe for me to cross the road.”
Linda has described how Sox, who is only 15 inches tall, has supported her during a recent stay in hospital.
She said: "He’s my world. I went into hospital recently and he was allowed to accompany me on the ward.
"He would just be there, he would lie across my legs and kept me calm.”
Linda, who used to live in the Oxford Road are of town before recently moving to Billingham, added: "As a puppy, he was a naughty little dog.
"To be honest, he has been hard work, but during lockdown I got to concentrate on working on him, get him to the standard that I wanted him to be.
"We’ve had an amazing show year with him. He’s done very well, he’s turned around.
Sox, who is four-years-old, also accompanied Linda to a Cliff Richard concert at Royal Albert Hall in London last year.
"I enjoyed it, but he slept through it. I don’t think he’s a fan of Cliff, to be honest,” Linda laughed.
She continued: "He’s one amazing dog.
"He’s a character. He’s an absolute dream to live with.”