Specsavers has once again sponsored the annual Hearing Dogs for Deaf People’s awards, which were this year hosted by Dame Esther Rantzen.
The glittering event, which champions owners and the Hearing Dogs themselves, awarded a number of recipients in an evening of inspirational stories.
And one story certainly pulled at the heart strings of everyone in the room.
Specsavers’ Heroic Partnership of the Year
Matthew Lunney, from Northampton, and his Hearing Dog Joe were awarded the Specsavers Heroic Partnership of the year award following a frightening incident that took place one evening when they went for a walk in the woods.
Guests at the awards were told of how Matthew, who was born deaf and relies on Joe to alert him to sounds, had taken Joe for a walk one evening when things took a turn for the worse.
After returning to his car, Matthew heard Joe growling in the back – which was unusual for the friendly dog. Feeling uneasy, Matthew locked the car from the inside when a man suddenly jumped from the bushes and tried to get in.
Things could have been very different
Fortunately Joe’s loud barking scared the man away. Speaking about the incident, Matthew said: "I've never heard him bark like that before. But, because of that, the man let go of the door handle and ran off."
Matthew received the award from dog-lover and Capital FM radio DJ, Pandora Christie.