ONE of the University of Winchester’s most popular ‘staff members’, Darcy the golden retriever, has been named Service Dog of the Year.

Darcy took the top spot in this year’s Canine Awards run by pet food company Benyfit Natural.

The award-winning golden retriever is an assistance dog to Jess Greene, who is personal assistant to Professor Emile Bojesen, director of research and innovation at the university. 
Jess has daily migraines as well as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and chronic pain. Darcy picks up things Jess has dropped, fetches the post and finds misplaced items like a phone or keys. 

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Hampshire Chronicle: Jess and DarcyJess and Darcy (Image: University of Winchester)

The assistance dog also helps Jess get dressed and can unload the washing machine.

Jess said: “She can even fetch a drink or food items if needed. Darcy is very popular around campus. She loves coming into the office and making everyone smile.”
Jess has had Darcy, now four, since she was a puppy and she qualified as her assistance dog in September 2022 after training with the charity Dog A.I.D. 
The Benyfit awards were judged by an expert panel before the final decision was made by a public vote online. 

Darcy’s prize was a package of Benyfit Naturals treats and a personalised dog blanket.