Dog who helped grieving family wins national award
- Credit: Andrew Lamb
A dog who helped boost her family's spirits after a number of loved ones died during lockdown has been honoured with a national award.
Roxy, a Siberian Husky from North Walsham, has won the Woof and Well Award, which aims to celebrate dogs which have formed a special bond with their owners and helped them during lockdown.
Her owner, Sarah Rhodes, 41, adopted six-year-old Roxy in 2020, after Sarah’s mother and Roxy’s owner died aged 63 and Roxy has since helped to comfort her and other members of the family while grieving.
She said: “Roxy belonged to my mum who lived in Cheshire.
"We received a call to say mum had fallen at home, she appeared very unwell and without any prior signs, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
"She returned home three weeks after diagnosis and I stayed with her for 11 days until she passed away.
"We decided to bring Roxy to live with us.
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"My mum had been ill without anyone really knowing because of lockdown so she hadn’t been feeding Roxy properly and she only weighed 14kg.
"Roxy was very depressed and was traumatised after she was left home on her own for five days while mum was in hospital without any of us being informed. We were not even sure she could bark.”
Ms Rhodes and her family spent the following weeks and months encouraging Roxy to eat and getting her interested in life around her again, helping her to make new friends and even bringing her bark back.
In return, the family say Roxy has helped them through Ms Rhodes' mother's battle with cancer and the death of her husband, and also the death of her oldest daughter's best friend at the age of 15.
Ms Rhodes added: “As a family, we have had some tough challenges since mum died.
“The month after mum passed away, my oldest daughter's best friend died, which was absolutely devastating and Roxy supported Lily, curling up on her bed with her and just knowing when she is needed.
"My younger daughter was diagnosed with triple curve scoliosis two months later and had major spinal surgery and Roxy kept her company during her recovery.”
Ms Rhodes and Roxy will enjoy a dog-friendly hotel break where they will be presented with the award, organised by pet food manufacturer Vet's Kitchen.