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High-fiving rescue dog Teddy wins RSPCA honour for helping his owner out of a coma

Teddy, the rescue dog has won a prestigious RSPCA Animal award for helping his owner wake from a coma.

For more than 100 years, the RSPCA Honours have been given to recognise people and organisations who have helped the charity in its goal to end cruelty, protect animals from abuse and further its knowledge of animal welfare.

Terrific Teddy scooped this year’s Animal Award created to recognise an animal that has cared for and shown compassion to a person and has made a difference to a life or whose actions have helped in a potentially life threatening situation.

Stealing the show at the awards ceremony (held on Saturday 17 June), with a natty bow-tie and his pawsome ‘high fives’, RSPCA rescue dog Teddy won the special Animal Award after he helped his owner Andy Szasz out of a medically induced coma three days earlier than expected last December.

Andy had been admitted to intensive care with pneumonia, after overcoming bowel cancer. His wife Estelle got special permission from hospital staff to allow her to bring Andy’s beloved pet in for a visit and she believes hearing Teddy's bark encouraged Andy to wake up.

He had such a strong bond with the four-year-old Schnauzer Poodle cross that once Andy was out of his coma, Teddy continued to help speed up his owner’s recovery with regular hospital visits from his four-legged friend and even video calls.

Andy first fell for Teddy at the Stubbington Ark RSPCA animal shelter in Fareham, Hampshire. The lonely dog had been desperately looking for a new home after the children in his first family suffered from allergies and couldn’t keep him any longer.

Michael Ward, RSPCA interim Chief Executive Officer, said: “Teddy is a brilliant example of the intense bond between dog and man.

“This little dog had a difficult start in life but was rescued by the RSPCA and rehomed by Andy.

“The connection between the two of them is so strong, that even in a coma, Andy responded to Teddy. It just shows how rewarding - and life-changing - giving a home to a rescue animal can be.”

His owner, Andy Szasz, a civil engineer from Southampton agrees: “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways. He's clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character! He really stole my heart when we first met five years ago.

“I always tell people I rescued Ted and Ted rescued me. We certainly do have a special bond.

“I was so proud of him at the Awards ceremony on Saturday. He behaved so well and wasn't fazed by anything. I think Ted and I got to meet every single person there and he high-fived most of them as well!

“We met many remarkable people who work for and on behalf of the RSPCA last weekend and we would like to say a big thank you to them all for helping bring Teddy into my life.”

This year 30 winners, including six RSPCA officers, who have gone the extra mile for animals were awarded with RSPCA Honours including:

• Celebrity chef and campaigner, Jamie Oliver, for work to improve chicken welfare
• A grieving brother and sister who raised money for the RSPCA
• A former firefighter who has pioneered large animal rescue techniques

The RSPCA Honours ceremony was held on Saturday 17 June at The Law Society in London.

To find out more about the RSPCA’s work visit

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).


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