Carrots the champion! The blind therapy cat receives the annual Blue Cross medal for heroic pets for its work to support the residents of the Marie Curie Hospice
- Carrots, a four-year-old ginger and a white cat, won the Blue Cross medal
- The award is given each year to an animal that supports or changes life in the UK
- Carrots won after helping soothe patients dealing with anxiety and depression
A blind therapy cat was awarded the annual Blue Cross Medal for helping keep the spirits high in a hospice during lockdown.
Carrots, a four-year-old ginger, and a white cat help bring relief and joy to the people at Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford who deal with anxiety and depression.
The Blue Cross Medal was launched by the charity in 1917 during World War I to recognize the heroic pets who helped change or save lives across Britain – albeit the first time the medal has been physically presented to an animal was presented in 1940.
Every year an animal is chosen to win the food, and this year the Blue Cross launched a call to find an animal with a special story to find the 2020 winner.
Carrots, a four-year-old ginger and white cat (pictured with owner Katie Lloyd), has received the Blue Cross Medal for his work in calming hospice patients in Bradford
Carrots that lost both eyes to an eye defect competed against 143 other pets across the country to win this year’s award
Now, Carrots, who lost both eyes to an eye defect, has left the competition of 143 other nominations behind after judges were impressed with his work with sick, unwell and dying patients.
The success of Carrots is the 80th year in which the Blue Cross has awarded its medal.
Carrots Owner Katie Lloyd said: “I am incredibly proud of Carrots for winning the 2020 Blue Cross Medal. I’m really humble and didn’t expect carrots to get that kind of recognition.
When Carrots first arrived, I knew right away that he was a special boy. He has been my companion for many years and has helped me through some of the toughest times of my life.
“Whenever I do my therapy, he seems to have a ‘sixth sense’ that I need extra reassurance and that I am so comfortable.
“Even when he was in need, he was there for everyone in the Marie Curie Hospice and is something special for so many people. He loves visiting patients and sits next to them so they can stroke him and hear him purr. ‘
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the competition. To celebrate, a picture of carrots is included in a London exhibition that features heroic pets of all time
During the coronavirus pandemic, when carrots couldn’t visit the hospice, Katie wrote letters to his regular friends and had him print a paw print for them to sign
Carrots were visiting the hospice nearly three years ago when Katie was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma.
“I will never forget one evening when we received a call from the hospice that an elderly man was facing difficult circumstances. He was very distressed and excited and asked for a visit from Carrots – so we immediately traveled to the hospice.
When he saw me at the door with carrots on my shoulder, he immediately relaxed. Shortly after carrots snuggled up with him on the bed, the gentleman fell asleep. It was probably the first break he’d managed in 12 hours.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, he really missed seeing his friends in the hospice, so he was busy writing letters to some of the lovely people he met through his therapy work. Of course, he signs all his letters with a paw print! ‘
Carrots are both the only therapy cat among Marie Curie hospitals and the only blind therapy cat in the UK
Carrots are both the only therapy cat at Marie Curie Hospice and the only blind therapy cat in the UK.
Julia Mckecknie-Burke, director of fundraising, marketing and communication at the Blue Cross and one of four judges on this year’s jury, explains why the jury selected carrots: “With the Blue Cross medal, we want to celebrate the extraordinary things that pets do for us and how they change our lives.
“Carrots are a perfect example of this, and we are honored to be awarding them the Blue Cross Medal on the occasion of his 80th anniversary, which places him alongside a long list of exceptional pets that have changed or saved lives.”
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the competition, Carrots has his picture taken and the picture will then be displayed at an exhibition in London that shows heroic pets of all time.
Last year’s medalist was eight-year-old self-taught Lily-Rose, who saved her owner from suffocating and alerted her owner when her mother collapsed after a heart attack.
The very first medal was awarded to Major Methuen by the King’s Royal Rifles after saving horses from grenades on a battlefield in France.
What is the Blue Cross Medal?
- Did the pet do something to change or save someone’s life?
- All entries will be judged on the merits of history, even if the pet is connected to another organization
- Pets can be viewed posthumously
- The judges will consider the background of pets – have they triumphed against adversity, are they a rescue pet that has achieved great things?
- The judges will consider the owner’s background – have they shown remarkable courage or coped with tragedy or illness?
- To celebrate unrecognized pet heroes, judges can consider previous awards or promotions
- The judges will consider their emotional reaction to the story