Thirteen-year-old Max has been awarded the PDSA Order of Merit – the animals' OBE – by vet charity PDSA
Thirteen-year-old Max has been awarded the PDSA Order of Merit – the Animal OBE – by vet charity PDSA

Therapy dog Max receives ‘Animal OBE’

Are you – like us – a fan of Max the English Springer Spaniel and his adventures in the Lake District? Then you’ll be pleased to hear that ‘Max the Miracle Dog’ has been awarded the PDSA’s Order of Merit, for making an outstanding contribution to society.

As well as adventuring over the fells, Max has been providing virtual support and comfort to thousands of people across the globe in his role as a therapy dog. Now, Max is being honoured by veterinary charity PDSA, for his unwavering service to society. And, he’s the first pet to receive the honour!

Animals have been receiving the PDSA’s Order of Merit since 2014. However, the dogs and horses that have received this medal in the past have been specially-trained to work as Police Dogs and Horses, Medical Detection Dogs, and Search and Rescue Dogs. The PDSA’s Order of Merit is the animal equivalent of the OBE, so this award is not to be sniffed at!

Max is awarded the PDSA Order of Merit, or Animal OBE

PDSA’s Order of Merit for Max

So, why has thirteen-year-old Max been awarded this honour? Well, it’s for the positive and life-altering impact he’s having on people’s wellbeing. We all know how popular Max is on social media. He never fails to raise a smile and provide us with that feel-good factor. But, what you may not know is that he’s also been supporting a raft of people through their dark and difficult times. Especially during this pandemic.

Since 2017, Max has met more than 10,000 people through personal meet-and-greets, charity walks, public appearances, school visits and book signings. Helping to raise almost £300,000 for charities, including the PDSA.  But Max’s story goes back a bit further than this.

Max and Kerry’s story

In 2006, Max’s owner Kerry Irving, was left unable to walk after a road traffic accident. As a result the outdoor-loving 46-year-old began to struggle with his mental health and was diagnosed with severe depression. Two years on from the accident, Kerry met Max.

The two formed a close bond, helping to give Kerry a reason to walk again. A year on from their first meeting, the pair took on climbing Ben Nevis together.

As a keen amateur photographer, Kerry began to share their outings on Facebook. They quickly acquired a host of adoring followers, keen to see the duos latest Lake District adventures. Soon the Max out in the Lakes Facebook page was a hit and fans were keen to meet the infamous Max.

This led Max to be trained as a therapy dog, making visits to schools, hospitals and hospices. Soon they were embarking on charity walks too.

Max, along with his ‘brother’ Paddy received the PDSA Commendation in 2018. And now Max has added to this award with a PDSA Order of Merit.

Throughout this pandemic, Max has been providing comfort, hope and support to thousands of social media followers, who were able to join him on his daily walks via Facebook Live.

So, congratulations Max, you deserve it!