By Lauren Fruen
A RESCUE puppy dubbed Picasso due to his wonky features has won an award for his “courage” after finding work as a therapy dog.
The chuhuahua pitbull mix – who was born with a twisted nose and jaw – picked up the Diamond Collar Hero Dog Award.
The accolade recognises animals who have overcome incredible odds in order to survive.
Picasso had been dumped at a centre for unwanted dogs in California when he was picked up by Liesl Wilhardt.
He was rescued alongside his brother, later named Pablo, by Luvable Dog Rescue founder Liesl.
The brothers had been facing euthanasia when Liesl took them back to her shelter in Oregon last year.
Tragically just months after being saved Pablo died of a brain aneurysm leaving Picasso, who is just over a year old, completely alone.
Now Picasso lives with Liesl and her nine other rescued dogs at her home where he is training to help those with disabilities.
And this week he was crowned a hero for his work as a therapy dog.
Liesl – who founded Luvable Dog Rescue 18 years ago – said: “Picasso is a very special dog, with an exceptional temperament.
“I just fell in love with him as soon as I saw him. I am so proud of him winning the award. It was such a huge honour for Picasso and for Luvable Dog Rescue.
“Only two dogs were chosen to receive this annual award. Picasso was recognized for his courage, resilience, and love for and service to people through his work as a therapy dog.
“We went to Portland last week for a beautiful ceremony to receive our award.
“He is a very special dog.
“I decided to bring him to my home and integrate him into my pack of dogs. I couldn’t face the thought of him being alone.
“Picasso’s jaw just grew crooked. The vets say he isn’t in any pain from it. It can sometimes make his eating difficult but other than that he is fine.
“I love this boy so much, and he’s had a hell of a rough life so far. I want the rest of his life to be amazing.”