In its 80th year, the national Blue Cross in England has awarded a special animal the prestigious title for decades. And this year, out of more than 140 nominated fur-friends, one stood out above the rest. Or “heads and tails above the rest” as the announcement claims. The honor was awarded to a special feline that truly deserves it. For Carrots, a fluffy ginger and white cat, his work helping humans is something he does completely on instinct. It doesn’t matter if “beauty is only skin deep”; he seems to see right into the soul.
Because Carrots is a fully blind therapy cat, bringing comfort to the residents at a local hospice in Bradford, England.
Behind the fantastic feline, is another award-worthy soul too; his owner Katie Lloyd. Katie has a soft spot for animals and is the founder of Bradford Cat Watch Rescue as well! But not only does she understand the true joy and companionship that comes with bonding with animals. Katie has her own battles that she is fighting each day.
Carrots first started visiting the hospice almost three years ago when his owner, Katie Lloyd, was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Astrocytoma. But it is not just Katie’s life that he transformed while he was there.
“He has been my companion since he arrived at Bradford Cat Watch Rescue, which I have run now for 14 years.”
The poor homeless kittens eyes were severely infected. They later discovered congenital birth defects that effected BOTH eyes, and he lost them completely.
That didn’t stop the sweet feline for one second. Or “moggy” as they refer to our catty friends in England.
So they began visiting the hospice weekly, bringing untold joy and smiles to the residents who so desperately needed them.
This doesn’t just happen everywhere though, even though I believe it SHOULD! The soothing and healing powers of pets can be more valuable to isolated patients in all areas of healing. But yet, lucky Carrots is more unique than we first imagined!
When the judges for the Blue Cross Medal began sifting through the applications, it is easy to see why cute Carrots face stood out. And they were searching for an extraordinary animal that has overcome the odds as previous winners showcased. (Kind of like the entire year of 2020 for all of us.)
Set up by Blue Cross during World War One, the Blue Cross Medal celebrates heroic pets who are changing or saving lives across the UK – with one pet being awarded the winning medal each year. Earlier this year, the charity launched a nationwide search for pets with an extra-special ‘tail’ to tell, in order to find it’s 2020 winner.
The idea of the Blue Cross Medal was first conceived in 1917 during World War One and was given to people who helped rescue animals. However, the first time it was presented to an animal specifically was in 1940, to a dog called ‘La Cloche’, for saving his owner from drowning – after a German torpedo hit their ship.
Katie’s fond memories of how her beloved Carrots provides this for people, may be what secured his victory.
I’ll never forget one evening when we received a call from the Hospice. [There] was an older gentleman facing difficult circumstances. He was very distressed and agitated and was requesting a visit from Carrots – so we travelled to the Hospice right away. When he saw me with Carrots on my shoulder at the door, he immediately relaxed. Shortly after Carrots snuggled down on the bed with him, the gentleman fell asleep. It was probably the first rest that he had managed to get in 12 hours.
But for him to win this honor in a year where so much is unordinary, he is sharing the celebration the best way he can during quarantine. And with Katie by his furry side, the dynamic duo are certainly out to change the world for the better.
During the Covid-19 pandemic he has really missed seeing his friends at the hospice. So he’s been busy writing letters to some of the lovely people he’s met through his therapy work. He signs off all his letters with a paw print of course!
Photos property of Bradford Cat Watch Rescue
REMEMBER: BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS & PETS ARE FAMILY TOO!
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