Hospital therapy cat and group rescuing animals in Ukraine honoured for work

·3-min read
Winner of the Cat Of The Year category, Mr London Meow, with owner Isabel Serafim (Mirror People’s Pet Awards/PA)
Winner of the Cat Of The Year category, Mr London Meow, with owner Isabel Serafim (Mirror People’s Pet Awards/PA)

A hospital therapy cat with an eclectic collection of bow ties and a British Army veteran who has rescued animals from Ukraine are among pets and humans to be recognised for their work at this year’s Mirror People’s Pet Awards.

The event, which is in its second year, will see trophies handed to 10 pets and animal groups who have gone above and beyond to help others.

The winner of the Cat Of The Year category – Mr London Meow – has been a big hit with social media users, racking up close to 10,000 followers on Instagram thanks to his colourful collection of bow ties, as well as his frequent visits to hospitals through his role as a therapy cat with charity Pets As Therapy UK .

(Mr London Meow) is very generous, bubbly and fun. I think he has a sense to be around someone, if that someone needs a little bit of attention and care

Owner Isabel Serafim

Isabel Serafim, 44, who is the guardian of the half-Persian/half-ragdoll feline, said: “He has this way with people, and is very charming.

“He’s very generous, bubbly and fun. I think he has a sense to be around someone, if that someone needs a little bit of attention and care.”

Yusuf Yousuf, a healthcare support worker at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, which Mr Meow visits, added that the atmosphere “lifts up any time he comes onto the wards”.

The recipient of the Animal Hero category was named as Breaking The Chains, an organisation set up in 2020 by Tom, who served in the Army for 16 years and did not provide his surname, and which has worked saving abandoned animals in Ukraine.

Tom from Breaking The Chains (Mirror People’s Pet Awards/PA)
Tom from Breaking The Chains (Mirror People’s Pet Awards/PA)

“At the start of the war, we saw, time and time again, shelters and zoos getting caught behind Russian lines with little food, water and supplies. It broke my heart,” Tom, 35, from Hull, said.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the group was said to have used specialist off-road vehicles, their driving capabilities and Tom’s understanding of the battlefield to rescue pets who were left behind, and partnered with animal charities War Paws and Dogbus to resupply and rebuild shelters that had been left without access to food and medical supplies.

He added: “There is no-one doing what we do and we will stay there as long as we need to be and also help with dealing with the aftermath. We aim to give animals the same level of protection that humans get.”

Other winners include a dog who has supported and served as a “real-life little teddy bear” to a disabled girl, a charity dedicated to helping animal lovers escape domestic abuse and a Staffordshire bull terrier called Max who works to break the stigma associated with the breed in his role as ambassador at charity Senior Staffy Club.

Host Judi LovePeople’s Pets Awards 2021 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London (Mirror People’s Pet Awards/PA)
Host Judi LovePeople’s Pets Awards 2021 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London (Mirror People’s Pet Awards/PA)

Comedian and TV presenter Judi Love, who is hosting the ceremony for a second time, alongside the Mirror’s editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, added: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be back hosting the Mirror People’s Pet Awards. Last year was brilliant but this year’s winners are just as amazing and will have you both laughing and crying in equal measures.”

The awards ceremony will take place on September 8 at London’s Grosvenor House, and can be watched live across Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at 8pm.

It has been organised in partnership with pet food, treats and toys brand Webbox and the Dogs Trust charity.