Max the Miracle Dog

Max - PDSA Order of Merit

English Springer Spaniel Max received the PDSA Order of Merit in February 2021 for providing comfort and support to thousands of people worldwide.

The PDSA Order of Merit is known as the animals’ OBE. It recognises animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society, above and beyond companionship.

Thirteen-year-old Max was the first ever pet to receive the PDSA Order of Merit since its inception in 2014. 

Max's story

In 2006, Max’s owner, Kerry Irving, was the victim of a road traffic accident. This left the fit, outdoor-loving 46-year-old unable to walk. As a result, Kerry’s mental health declined and he was diagnosed with severe depression. Two years after the accident, Kerry met Max and their incredible bond gave him a reason to walk again. They climbed Ben Nevis twelve months later – a challenge that proved how far they had come together.

Then, Kerry - a keen amateur photographer – started to show Max enjoying his walks in the Lake District on his business Facebook page. As a result, followers grew as more people began visiting the page to enjoy Max’s adventures. Therefore, Kerry dedicated the entire page to him, renaming it ‘Max out in the Lake District’.

After that, Kerry received hundreds of requests from Facebook fans to meet Max, and Kerry was happy to oblige. To support this, Max trained as a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Nationwide in 2016. This enabled him to make special visits to people in schools, hospitals and hospices. The spaniel’s popularity was so great that Kerry began organising walks for charity which enabled large groups of people to meet him.  

In 2018, alongside his ‘brother’,Springer Spaniel Paddy, Max received the PDSA Commendation. The citation read: For providing support in recovery and enriching the lives of many others. This recognised how the dogs had helped their owner and their valuable community activity.

Since 2017, Max had met over 10,000 people through personal meet-and-greets, charity walks, public appearances, school visits and book signings. 

Above all, the positive impact Max has on the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide is unprecedented. His popularity as a social media star provides a feel-good factor and he has inspired many through dark and difficult times.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Max has provided comfort, hope and support to thousands who joined him on walks via Facebook Live. At a time when many people were anxious, Max was there.

Now, Max has become an ambassador for the positive impact that animals have on mental health and wellbeing. PDSA is honoured to award him with the PDSA Order of Merit, for showing the contribution that animals make to human lives, beyond ordinary companionship.

He has helped to raise nearly £950000.00 for a number of charities, including PDSA, Scotty's Little Soldiers, Service Dogs UK, Search and Rescue Dogs and latterly over £400,000 for The Great North Ambulance to which Kerry is an Ambassador.

For more information read:
Max the Miracle Dog (Harper Collins Sunday Times Bestseller)
Forever Max (Harper Collins) No1 Sunday Times Bestseller

Both  books available in our online store