RECOVERY Assistance Dogs became a charity in 2008 to help mental health sufferers, with dogs trained to protect their owner from anxiety, loneliness and panic attacks. According to her owner and executive director of RECOVERY Assistance Dogs, Liz Maitland, Milli is the perfect example of an assistance dog.
She says: “Milli is my best friend — she doesn’t let me down, she focuses on me all the time, follows me everywhere and we have companionship without the arguments. Milli’s task is to stand in between myself and others to help with social inclusion.
“For example, one-day last year I was in a queue with a man standing close behind me. I turned around and saw him and was surprised that I felt calm and didn’t panic. Then I saw why. Milli was lying in between him and I. As a RECOVERY Assistance Dog, I can take Milli everywhere with me and be calm.
“Milli helps me with stability. Her constant presence teaches my mind to be still and peaceful. She touches me for reassurance and enables me to be still in the moment.
“I recently went to catch a train, but it was delayed. The crowds were enormous, and it was very challenging for me. Milli was steadfast — she kept close and made a space around me. She is so full of faith that it impacts on me. Even though a drunk nearby was throwing up, we managed to be courageous and Milli helped me find a policeman to have him taken off the train.
“Milli helps me feel safe. She guards and protects me from anxiety and fear so that I can enjoy my life again in renewed safety.
“Milli barks on cue to alert someone for help. She works in the charity shop with me and has learned not to bark when people walk in; but, if I ask her to bark with a visual or verbal cue, she can alert the person working next door if I don’t feel safe. A shop up the road had an armed robbery in August last year, so it’s helpful to have this added reassurance that I can alert someone for help.”
If you think Milli’s hard work means she deserves to win the Healthcare & Assistance Dogs category, putting her in the running for the title of Autarky Hardest Working Dog 2020, then make sure you cast your vote when voting goes live on Monday 23rd March, 2020.