Max the ‘Miracle Dog’: Kerry Irving on his battle with depression
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Max and his owner Mr Irving appeared on Sky News this morning. Dubbed as a ‘virtual therapy dog’, the 13-year-old springer spaniel from the Lake District is receiving one of the highest accolades in the animal world, the PDSA Order of Merit.
Max’s owner, Mr Irving, 46, credits his dog with giving him a “reason to live” after a car accident 12 years ago left him with severe back pain and depression.
Sky News Presenter, Gillian Joseph, commented on the love and affection which radiated from Max and his owner. Kerry said that Max is not only his best friend, but also the “best friend of millions of people across the globe. Max’s story has touched so many people.”
Mr Irving continued: “Max helped me recover from depression and has helped me to actually talk about depression.
“I was driving home from work one day and my car got hit by a truck. I was housebound for about two-and-a-half to three years.
“One day I was sent out to buy a pint of milk by my wife. That is not a great task in itself but when you are struggling with anxiety and depression, when you have been an active person and that’s been strictly limited, you do just want to stay in bed. You just do not want to be here. I was looking at ways of ending that.
“Then I met [Max] and he gave me a reason to get back outside and enjoy life. From that moment on he has been by my side every day.”
Mr Irving began posting photos of how their relationship was growing on his Facebook page, Max Out in the Lake District. Now Max has become quite the celebrity: “It’s quite incredible how instantly a post on social media travels around the world.”
Now Max has met more than 10,000 people through meet-and-greets, charity walks and visits to schools, hospitals and hospices.
He has also raised nearly £300,000 for a number of charities, including PDSA.
Mr Irving said: “Max has been awarded the PDSA Order of Merit for all the people he has helped.
“He has helped people from all different backgrounds and all different age groups from three-year-olds to 90-year-olds.
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Mr Irving added: “With this pandemic, there is going to be a lot of issues with mental health and if we can use Max to help people then I think that is a blessing.
Max is the first pet dog to win the prestigious PDSA Order of Merit, most winners are police dogs and specifically trained search and rescue dogs.
On the award, Kerry said: “I think that is testament to what animals can bring to us and the joy and comfort they bring too.”
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