Gloucestershire

Whizz the dog gets posthumous award for lifesaving work

Whizz and Ellie Bedford in action Image copyright PDSA
Image caption The Newfoundland dog worked in the Bristol Channel and River Severn

A dog which rescued nine people during his working life patrolling the Bristol Channel and River Severn has been given a posthumous award for his service.

Whizz, a Newfoundland, worked with the Royal Navy Rescue, the Severn Area Rescue Association and the Marine Volunteer Service.

He died on 1 March, aged 12, following a ten year water rescue career.

The PDSA Order of Merit is given to animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or society.

Image copyright PDSA
Image caption During his 10 year working life, Whizz rescued nine people and a dog from drowning
Image copyright PDSA
Image caption The PDSA Order of Merit was presented to Whizz's cousin, Tizz, and handler Ellie Bedford

Whizz, who had cancer, is only the third dog to receive the honour since it was brought in 2014.

His handler Ellie Bedford, owner David Pugh and descendent Tizz, accepted the medal on his behalf from PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin.

Mr Pugh, from Portishead near Bristol, said Whizz was "exuberant - a fantastic working dog" who gave his all then came home for love and affection.

He was trained to work with a lifeguard who swims with the dog on rescue missions.

"A drowning person is like 10 people because they panic and can take a dog under with them, so the lifeguard swims with the dog to talk to the victim," said Mr Pugh.

His work as a therapy dog included visits to children and adults in hospices and helping children overcome their fear of dogs.

"I won't see his like again but I've got great memories," Mr Pugh said.

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