Owner Robert Stuhldreer is affected by seizures which he suffers without warning and has in the past required hospital treatment for injuries sustained during these episodes.
Flora can predict these seizures and give Robert warning so he can put himself in a place of safety. She did not have any formal training but is now a registered assistance dog with Canine Generated Independence.
Flora was given the award at a ceremony hosted by Alastair Stewart OBE and held at the Royal Society in London on July 11.
Robert, who lives in Holloway, London, said: “I am so proud of Flora, she deserves this award as she has helped me in so many ways – she liberates me and enables me to feel a more active part of society whilst increasing my feelings of independence and self worth.”
Robert recalls a time when he was left unconscious after a seizure and Flora was able to gain access to a communal hallway Robert shares with his downstairs neighbour.
He said: “Flora went to our front door, pulled the handle down, opened our internal front door, went down a flight of stairs and scratched on the neighbours front door to summon help. I have no doubt that if she hadn’t acted I would not be here today.”
Robert added: “Flora is truly a dog of a lifetime. Because of her she has totally transformed my life. It’s actually hard to put into words just what this wonderful girl means to me.”
Flora is an Akita Ambassador and a medical alert dog. She is the very first and currently believed
to be the only one of her breed to have qualified and be working as an Assistance Dog in the UK.
Deputy Chief Executive Chris Wainwright said: “”The RSPCA Honours is a fantastic event that the RSPCA is extremely proud of. The evening showcases the work of those who go the extra mile to show compassion and dedication to animals.
“There have been so many inspirational and heartwarming stories and we hope the awards have helped to highlight the positive power of animals and the impact they have on our lives.”
The RSPCA Honours are held annually and this year saw a ceremony hosted by Alastair Stewart OBE at The Royal Society in London on July 11.
The RSPCA Honours are an opportunity to recognise and honour all these people and organisations that help to make the lives of animals better; through kindness, courage, determination and innovation. Awards are given for bravery, outstanding service and to recognise exceptional contributions to animal welfare.