It will be a big day for a big dog.
An 80 kilogram irish wolfhound will be the first animal to be presented with a Local Hero Medal, as part of the 2012 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Guinness, known as earthquake dog, will stand alongside Mayor Bob Parker, Student Volunteer Army founder Sam Johnson and other unsung Christchurch heroes to have an engraved bronze cast medal placed over his hairy head at The George Hotel on Thursday night.
Owner Sean Scully, 37, who is also a medallist, said Guinness was very proud of himself and hoped the award would “increase his luck with the bitches at the dog park”.
“It’s going to be a big night for both of us bachelors, but the biggest issue will be getting us both presentable.”
Six-year-old Guinness will be groomed for the first time before the ceremony and Scully had planned to buy a dog brush this week.
He had also contemplated a canine bow tie, but didn’t think it was Guinness’ style.
Yesterday Scully, who is a law student at Canterbury University, rang The George Hotel to warn them “one of Thursday’s attendees will be a giant dog”.
He promised Guinness would be on his “best behaviour – seen but not heard” during the night.
Scully and Guinness are being recognised for their work in Christchurch’s shattered eastern suburbs after the February earthquake.
They worked 12-hour days for three weeks, led a Bobcat fleet and gave out hundreds of donated shovels, wheelbarrows and water bottles.
The giant dog’s presence brought smiles to the faces of quake-hit residents. He even gave children rides on his back around silt-laden streets.
Guinness still “goes everywhere” with Scully.
He is often spotted padding around the university and is a well-known patron at the Carlton Country Club in Merivale.
The gentle giant’s latest “party trick” is standing at the bar drinking a pint of Speight’s with Scully.
Emma Mcdonald, spokeswoman for New Zealander of the Year Awards, said Guinness was the first animal to receive a Local Hero Award.
He would most likely also be the last, she added.