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Shining World Awards

Shining World Hero Award Recipient: Willow – the Dedicated Assistance Dog

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Today we will share the remarkable story of a precious heroic dog named Willow whose intelligence and loyalty is larger than life. Adorable Willow was adopted by Ruth Spurr in 2016 with the intention of being her pet companion rather than an assistance dog. Ruth suffers with a rare genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which affects joints and multiple organs, making simple daily tasks incredibly difficult for her. Initially, Ruth worked with a regular dog trainer to help socialize Willow and teach her basic commands. A close friend then suggested Dog A.I.D. (Assistance in Disability), a UK charity group dedicated to training animal companions to better help people with disabilities. Although many thought tiny Willow could never be certified as an assistance dog, she soon amazed everyone. Just three months, or halfway into Willow’s training, Ruth experienced a life-threatening incident. She critically burned herself and lost consciousness. Willow had no prior training on situations where her mom is unconscious, but still knew exactly what to do. "It was in the summer of 2018, I was at home and I was cooking and I was making pasta, and basically, I burnt my leg. I accidentally poured the hot water onto my legs and I couldn’t move back. I’m in a wheelchair. And I passed out from the pain and I collapsed onto the floor. When I woke up, Willow was lying on my chest here with my phone. So when I passed out… she went to the lounge and she got my phone of her own accord… and with that I called the ambulance. When there is a moment when you are unconscious or you’re not asking her something, she has to think for herself, her initiative. And it just shows you how incredible dogs are. And yeah, literally she is a lifesaver. Literally, and my best friend." Heartfully touched by her outstanding fidelity and heroic deeds, Supreme Master Ching Hai presented Willow the Shining World Heroine Award, plus a loving donation of USD $2,000. “For outstanding fidelity, for your unconditional love, and for being human’s best friend, we hereby applaud and celebrate the heroic deeds of super canine Willow. May you and Ruth forever be happy in each other’s company. With Gratitude, Best Wishes and All My Love. Supreme Master Ching Hai”
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