A TEENAGER’S beloved pet has made it into the final running for a top award at Crufts.
Olivia Cunliffe, 16, has cerebral palsy, leaving her unable to walk or talk – but her family have said golden retriever Ruby is a ‘godsend’ to the teen.
Ruby is in the final five of the ‘Kennel Club Hero Dog’ award – which recognises ‘unsung canine heroes’ who change the lives of their companions.
Olivia’s family have said Ruby helps Olivia manage her pain, and has learned to actively step in to tuck into Olivia’s body to ease her pain-inducing involuntary movements.
Besides physically helping Olivia’s pain, Ruby can also detect the youngsters pain before anyone else does, alerting her family.
Olivia’s mum Mandy, 49, said: “Ruby has been a godsend from the moment that she first entered our lives as a puppy.
“She started out as another family pet but has become so much more than that.
“It is a real honour to have been chosen.
The winner of the award will be announced on Sunday March 13 – during the three-day Crufts 2022 competition – and people can vote on the website.
“Being a full-time carer is very demanding,” Mandy added.
“Olivia is tube-fed and needs care at night as well as she can’t reposition herself.
“Ruby goes to her when she is distressed and seems to know where the pain is.
“Olivia has involuntary movements when she is in pain and gets quite writhy.
“Ruby tends to go up and put herself under Olivia’s body where the pain is, and that calms Olivia right down.
“She also loves doing physio with Olivia, which she does three times a week, Ruby loves to join in.”