To celebrate the impressive way our pets have been there for us, Petplan has launched the Petplan Pet Awards 2020, to champion the best stories of pet heroism across the country.

Olivia and Mizzie

Olivia and Mizzie

Olivia Houghton brought home her Toy-Poodle Cocker Spaniel, Mizzie, on New Year’s Eve three and a half years ago, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. 

‘My dog Mizzie deserves to win because she has changed my life,’ says Olivia. 

‘I’m autistic with mental health problems and I’ve always struggled very bad with anxiety as well. Since I’ve had Mizzie she supports me to go outside which I never used to do. I won’t go out without my dog.

The doctor wrote me a letter for my landlord to say what a huge support she is to me from a medical point of view and an emotional and social point to.

My close friends and family have noticed a huge difference in me since I’ve had Mizzie.

She’s the sweetest most caring dog I’ve ever met. I have panic attacks often and she supports me through them.

She also supports me through my autistic meltdowns by lying on me and providing pressure support to calm me.It works every time. She’s the happiest dog and she makes me so happy. She’s even won a competition for the happiest dog. She supports me with my therapy as well.

I don’t go on holidays because of my autism and anxiety but for the first time since I was a child I went on a day trip to Weston. I was only able to do this because the coach company allowed her to come after they found out what a support she was to me. She sat on my lap the whole way there and back. I didn’t have any panic attacks that day because Mizzie was there with me to calm me.

She’s been an absolute miracle for me and my mental health, she has saved me in many ways.

During this lockdown it’s just been us two together because I live alone and I honestly don’t know how I would have got through this lockdown without her. She’s always keeping me smiling and laughing.

My doctor says she’s the best treatment I’ve ever had! It’s true she really is the best and she’s very clever and kind.

She’s changed me for the better, I’m much better now I have my Mizzie to look after me.’

This pet has been nominated as Companion Pet of the Year and if you feel inspired to nominate your pet because of the support they’ve given you, please visit www.petplan.co.uk/pet-awards/.

Nominations are open until 31st July and there are five categories to enter. An independent panel of experts will select five finalists from each category in August before one of those lucky pets is crowned the winner, receiving a fabulous hamper full of goodies worth £400!