Max the Miracle Dog, who made headlines around the world when he was awarded the PDSA Order of Merit earlier this year, has had a permanent statue unveiled in his hometown of Keswick, Cumbria on Friday.
The famous four-legged hero has been honoured with a bronze statue in his likeness, which is perched on a bench in Hope Park so that all his fans for years to come can sit and have a cuddle with the loyal pooch.
English Springer Spaniel Max, was already an online star thanks to his owner Kerry Irving’s regular updates on social media.
Photos and videos of their antics in the Lakes, charity walks and public appearances had already made the special spaniel a household name, but when the pandemic hit in 2020 Max’s daily live broadcasts resulted in him becoming the world’s virtual therapy dog, with dedicated fans tuning in from Australia to America.
Their daily Facebook Live videos became a lifeline for hundreds of thousands when the world went into lockdown, helping people through incredibly dark times of isolation, grief, loneliness, anxiety and fear. In February 2021, Max was presented with the PDSA Order of Merit, also known as the animals OBE, for his outstanding contribution to society.
Now his statue, which has been designed and made by local sculptor Kirsty Armstrong, is a permanent tribute of Keswick’s most famous dog.
Reacting to the unveiling, Max’s owner Kerry Irving said:
The statue was paid for by a crowdfunding campaign, which raised £26,000 in a single day – so much that Kerry was able to donate additional funds to vet charity PDSA.
Kerry added: “Everyone has been so incredibly supportive, I can’t begin to express my thanks to all those that donated their hard-earned money, the Town Council and Hope Park Trust for arranging this wonderful location, our local sculptor Kirsty, and Honister Slate Mine, who helped us pick the perfect slate for the bench. And the fact we were able to donate additional proceeds to PDSA too is wonderful, as it’s a charity that is very close to my heart. I’m humbled by it all, and hope that Max’s statue will bring great comfort to all those who visit.”
Amy Dickin, Awards and Heritage Manager at PDSA, said: “Max has become a symbol of hope and happiness to thousands of people and we were thrilled to honour him with the PDSA Order of Merit, in recognition of his service to society as a virtual therapy dog. This beautiful statue is a fitting tribute to Max and will give his fans the chance to ‘meet’ him whenever they visit Hope Park. Kerry has worked so hard to make this happen too – he will no doubt be very proud of his boys today.”