Cumbria’s celebrity springer spaniel Max is to be honoured with a bronze statue in the town after an online fundraising campaign exceeded its target within two hours of being launched.
Owner Kerry Irving started the gofundme appeal after Keswick Town Council formally gave the go-ahead for the canine statue, which mayor Paul Titley wants to be positioned in Hope Park.
“We decided on Hope Park so that people can get near enough to touch the statue and have a picture taken next to it,” said the mayor.
“It also fits because Max has instilled hope in so many people over the years and he is an internet sensation,” he added.
Kerry, of Keswick, enlisted the help of the dog’s huge Facebook following of nearly 150,000 people to raise £15,000 in just one hour 55 minutes.
Donations came in from across the world and the total to date is £27,627.
Kerry, who Max helped recover from depression, said: “This is a great honour for Max who has inspired not only me but so many people over the years.
“He makes people smile and he helped me in my darkest hour. He gave me strength when I was at my lowest ebb and since then he has helped thousands of people around the world.”
Kerry is pleased that Hope Park could be the final destination for the sculpture, although it still needs to be agreed by the park trustees.
He said: “I didn’t want the statue hidden away and our parks in Keswick are outstanding, an ideal place for people to sit and reflect on their own challenges next to Max who has inspired so many people around the world.”
If agreed, Kerry wants a donation box placed beside the statue with the proceeds going to help with the upkeep of the park.
Over the years, 13-year-old Max and Kerry’s fellow springer spaniels Paddy and Harry have helped raise almost £250,000 for various charities.
Beneficiaries have included the PDSA, mountain rescue teams, the National Trust, Fix the Fells, Service Dogs UK, Scotty’s Little Soldiers and Help For Heroes.
The dog’s exploits shown on his Facebook page — Max Out In The Lake District — have attracted a huge international following and he has even had a best-selling book published which charts the story of Kerry, whose mental health suffered after a road traffic accident left him with chronic pain.
Max has also twice been presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
He was the first therapy dog to be allowed in Buckingham Palace for a garden party and met the royal couple again last year when they visited Keswick.
Any funding left over from the cost of the statue will be donated to the PDSA.