Max the English springer spaniel, named 'Miracle Dog' by his family and supporters, had a statue of himself unveiled in his hometown on Friday, 2 July.
The bronze statue in Max's likeness has been erected in Hope Park, Keswick, in Cumbria, and has been set on a bench, so that fans of the famous dog can cuddle up to him.
Max shot to fame online because of his owner – Kerry Irving – who posted regular updates of the pup on social media. Photos and videos of Max made him a household name in the local area, but Max became even more special to his fans as the pandemic hit.
Throughout lockdown, Max's owner did daily live broadcasts of him, resulting in Max being dubbed the world's 'virtual therapy dog', and dedicated fans tuned in all the way from Australia to America.
The daily Facebook Live videos of max became an important source of joy for hundreds of thousands of people during lockdown, and Max's antics are credited with helping people through isolation, grief, and anxiety. Max was presented with the PDSA Order of Merit (known also as the animals OBE) in February 2021 for his excellent contribution to society.
Local sculptor Kirsty Armstrong made the permanent tribute to the famous pooch, and Max's owner Kerry said of the sculpture: “Hope Park is the perfect location as Max has brought hope to so many people. It’s incredible that our little boy, proudly wearing his PDSA Order of Merit, will now be sat there and remembered for generations to come.”
Paid for by a crowdfunding campaign, the statue is a testament to how beloved Max is, with the campaign raising £26,000 in a single day! The campaign even raised enough for Kerry to donate additional funds to the PDSA charity. Kerry added: “Everyone has been so incredibly supportive, I can’t begin to express my thanks to all those who donated their hard-earned money, the Town Council and Hope Park Trust for arranging this wonderful location, our local sculptor Kirsty, and Honister Slate Mine, who helped us pick the perfect slate for the bench.
“And the fact we were able to donate additional proceeds to PDSA too is wonderful, as it’s a charity that is very close to my heart. I’m humbled by it all, and hope that Max’s statue will bring great comfort to all those who visit.”
Max can be followed at the Facebook page 'Max out in the Lake District' and more about his PDSA Order of Merit can be found here.