PDSA Dickin Medal dog owner to run marathon for charity

The owner of the only living PDSA Dickin Medal recipient is appealing to animal lovers to support her forthcoming London Marathon run.

Lou Hackney is taking on the 26.2 mile course for the second time in aid of vet charity, PDSA, which cares for more than 470,000 pets across the UK every year. Lou has worked as a veterinary support manager at the charity since 2016.

Hackney is also running to honour her dog, Mali, who came to live with her and husband, Andy, fifteen months ago. A retired British Military Working Dog (MWD), Mali – the only living PDSA Dickin recipient – received his prestigious award after he helped to save the lives of troops in Afghanistan.

The nine-year-old Belgian Malinois was part of a unit deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, during his tenure, he assisted in a highly sensitive operation to secure an enemy stronghold, and on two separate occasions was sent through direct fire to search for explosives. He also indicated the presence of insurgents numerous times.

Hackney said: “He joined our family shortly after I lost my mum to cancer and was just the distraction I needed after experiencing such loss. He filled a massive gap in our lives and it’s like we’ve had him forever. I can’t imagine our home without him now.

“We feel proud and extremely lucky to have him. When he’s lying on his back stretching with his legs in the air I look at him and think what an extraordinary, brave, beautiful dog you are and we will do all we can to keep him happy and healthy in the years he has left.”

She added: “As well as looking after Mali I work in the veterinary support team at PDSA’s Head Office in Telford. I see day-in, day-out the life-saving work that takes place at our Pet Hospitals across the UK and I want to help raise vital funds for this fantastic charity.”

Hackney is hoping to raise £1,900 for PDSA as part of her marathon mission and will be holding a secret auction along with a finishing-time sweep-stake, to raise the vital funds.

Amy Wareing-Reid, fundraising manager at PDSA, said: “Lou’s marathon effort means many pets will receive the vital, life-saving vet treatment they need and we’re so proud that she’s taken on such gruelling training on top of her busy life. We’ll be cheering Lou and the rest of Team PDSA’s runners along the course and I hope local animal lovers will support her too.”

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