Dog who saves his owner from injury every day is nominated for an award

Katie Purcell and her devoted dog, Archie.
Katie Purcell and her devoted dog, Archie.

A Labrador who has saved his owner’s life on more than one occasion has reached the final of the Amplifon Awards for Brave Britons.

Wakefield’s Archie has been nominated for the Hero Pet award as hearing specialists, Amplifon, search for unsung heroes who represent ‘The Best of British’.

Owner Katie Purcell, 27, suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that has caused her to black out without warning since the age of 16.

She has broken every bone in her body and was visiting A&E monthly for fractures, including after she fell down a flight of concrete stairs.

When the charity, Medical Detection Dogs, began a study into POTS, Katie was matched with Archie, who even detected she was about to pass out at their first meeting.

Since January 2016, he has alerted her that a black-out is on its way more than 1,000 times without missing a single incident.

To alert Katie, he will stop and stare at her before nudging her hands until she is in a safe position.

Sometimes he will lie on top of her to ensure she is in a safe place.

Katie’s constant companion has changed her life.

She has been able to take up competitive swimming again and represented Great Britain at the World Masters Swimming Championships.

She has also been promoted to senior manager in the NHS, with Archie accompanying her on ward visits and as she travels around the country.

Katie was delighted with Archie’s nomination in the Hero Pet category.

She said: “All I ever wanted was to be normal, but my life is so much better than normal now. He’s shown that you don’t have to let your illness stop you doing everything you ever wanted.”

Set up in honour of Amplifon’s founder, Second World War hero Major Charles Holland, the awards recognise courage and achievement in the categories of Outstanding Military Bravery, Community Champion and Against All Odds.

Animals who have transformed the lives of their owners are honoured in the Hero Pet category.

The finalists will be judged by a panel including Falklands war veteran Simon Weston, who is an ambassador for Amplifon.

Charles Holland was awarded both the MBE and the Military Cross and received the Bronze Star from the United States Government in 1948 for his bravery behind enemy lines during the Second World War.

After the war, the courageous veteran dedicated his life to providing better hearing for people affected by the conflict and in 1950 launched Amplifon, which has become a global company specialising in providing the best in class hearing solutions and devices.

Giuseppe Manzo, general manager for Amplifon UK & Eire, said: “We received some fantastic entries in the Hero Pet category and the four finalists truly embody the heroism shown by Charles Holland.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Army and Navy Club in London on Tuesday, October 17.

A panel of judges will choose an overall winner of the Charles Holland Award from the category winners, who will win a trip to Italy.

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