Our dogs mean the world to us and every day they find new ways to help us navigate the stress of modern life.
When the Landowski family adopted a Mastiff named Lemmy at the end of last year, they couldn't have predicted just how much he'd change - and save - their lives.
With a hole to fill following the passing of her previous dog, Suzi, Maria discovered Lemmy at the Blue Cross rehoming centre in Southampton where he had spent 47 days before his luck took a turn for the better.
Losing Suzi took a toll on the family and Maria reveals she saw a scary decline in the mental health of her two sons, Joe and Max.
“Lemmy has brought immense joy to our family after such a tragic event for us. I believe he saved my both children’s lives," Maria said.
Maria explained, "Both of my sons had become extremely depressed after the death of our dog Suzi. My eldest son Max became suicidal. It’s the worst thing any mother can experience, seeing your own son in such a low place, it broke my heart.”
Thanks to Lemmy, Max is no longer suicidal and in fact is the happiest he’s been in a long time.
Max’s younger brother, Joe, who suffers from social anxiety, leaving him locked away in his room for five years, now gets out of his room to walk and play with Lemmy.
Pictured above, Maria, Lemmy and Max
27-year-old Max said, “They say depression is a black dog, well it took a big black dog called Lemmy to help me through mine. I can honestly say I don’t know if I’d be here if it wasn’t for him.
"I was in a really bad place with my mental health and couldn’t see a way out. Lemmy has changed my life around, he brings me so much joy and the bond we have is the reason I get up in the mornings, I just dread to think where we would be without him."
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To celebrate and say thank you to Lemmy, the family nominated him for the Blue Cross Medal and the judging panel, including Love Island’s Olivia Buckland and TV presenter Suzi Perry, have awarded him the 2018 medal calling him the "undeniable winner".
Max added, "We’re thrilled to be able to give him the Blue Cross Medal, to show just how amazing he is.”
Olivia Buckland congratulated Lemmy saying, “I am so proud to have been involved in the Blue Cross Medal by encouraging people to put their pets forward for this award.
"As a pet owner myself, I know just what an amazing impact they can have on us. The difference Lemmy has made to his owners’ lives is just incredible and no doubt this award will continue to unearth ordinary pets doing extraordinary things for years to come.”