Baloo, a seizure alert dog from Ipswich, Qld has been announced as the Puppy Tales 2023 Australian Dog of the Year.

Baloo assists 28-year-old Dani Stevens, who lives with uncontrolled epilepsy, by alerting Stevens to impending seizures, and as well as saving her life several times, has given her back her independence.

“Baloo alerts three to five minutes prior to oncoming seizures. She’s saved my life multiple times, including when I’ve stopped breathing and required CPR. She also protects me from falls daily.

“Baloo has given me back my life back. She’s my little shadow. At night-time, she sleeps on my bed and wakes me up at night and barks to alert.”

As recognition for claiming the title, Puppy Tales will donate $1000 to Baloo’s chosen charity – Epilepsy Action Australia. Baloo and Stevens will also receive a $1000 photography experience with Puppy Tales Photography and a $250 gift card from Pet Circle.

Taking out the People’s Choice Award was Elton, an assistance dog from Canberra. Elton assists Charlie, 7, who has autism, an intellectual disability, and a severe heart condition.

Charlie with assistance dog Elton, the 2023 People’s Choice Award winner.

Melissa Clode, Charlie’s mother, said that Elton brings light to very hard times.

“Charlie’s had over 120 hospital admissions and has already had two strokes and seven heart surgeries. Elton has been with Charlie for some hospital admissions and is learning to help with seizures. He protects Charlie. What comforts Charlie is getting a big hug from Elton.”

Kerry Martin, founder of Puppy Tales and international award-winning pet photographer, said the awards remind of how incredible our dogs are.

“We’re reminded again and again of just how incredible our doggos are, and seen how ordinary Paw-stralians from all across Australia have helped their people, made a difference to others and be outstanding fur-citizens in the communities that they live in.”

Martin also gave special mention to two other finalists – Keegan the guide dog and Delia the Labrador.

“Keegan is an amazing guide dog and like all dogs in this role has given his human Janice independence and the ability to complete 118 park runs to be crowned a QLD Stateperson. He also senses and settles her after PTSD flare-ups.

“And Delia is a Psychiatric Assistance Dog to Suzanne who has PTSD and anxiety from her service in the Navy. Delia has given Suzanne the ability to leave home – she’s a lifeline to the world.”

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