A chocolate labrador has won gold at the RSPCA WA Animal Welfare Awards for his life-saving actions in raising the alarm for a Tenterden family when 10-year-old Ben is having a seizure.
Seizure alert assistance dog Radar was one of three animals to take out gold in the animal award category for the positive impact he has had with long-term companion Ben Williams and his family.
The award, presented earlier this month, celebrates the incredible bond and loyalty that can develop between humans and animals.
Radar gives the Williams family peace of mind and daily physical, emotional and mental health support.
Since he was 22 months old, Ben has suffered from severe seizures, as well as undetectable and equally life-threatening “absence” seizures.
The Williams family, who have made the move to Tenterden from Perth, were “extremely humbled and honoured” to accept the award for Radar.
“Radar has made a huge difference in our life,” Ben’s father Ian Williams said.
“It’s probably the first time in five years that my wife and I get a good night’s sleep.”
Radar alerts Ben’s parents if he is going to have a seizure by barking.
“His first point of call when a seizure’s happening is he’ll bark. If he doesn’t get your attention quick enough he’ll hook his canine tooth around your second finger joint and try to drag you to where Ben is or he’ll nudge you,” Mr Williams said.
When living in Perth, Ben was suffering 60 to 75 seizures a day.
Since making the move to the Great Southern, his seizures have dropped to five to 10 a day.
“The move has been exponentially beneficial not only for Ben but for the family as we are getting more sleep,” Mr Williams said.
Mr Williams said once Radar finishes his training, he will hopefully be able to join Ben at Cranbrook Primary School.
This will make Radar the “leader of the pack” as the first seizure alert dog in a public WA school.
Becoming best friends since Radar was eight weeks old in 2019, the pair have formed an “amazing bond and connection”.
“A godsend is the only way to describe him,” Mr Williams said.
“We are just grateful for the exposure of him winning the award and increasing seizure awareness in the Great Southern.”