Phil, pictured with Sweep and his own dog, Topher
At a very special Awards ceremony to be held at the Kennel Club in London on 23rd October, the winner of the National PAT Dog of the Year contest will be announced.
The winner is Sweep, a Border Collie owned by Ann Quarrie from Blaydon.
Sweep was nominated by Phil Smith who will also be at the Awards. Phil Smith had been blind from the age of 8, however tragedy struck in 1999 when Phil was involved in a horrendous road accident which left him completely paralysed from the neck down and unable to speak, drink or eat.
Phil spent three years in hospital, in Hunters Moor Re-habilitation Unit and then in Whickham Villa Re-Habilitation Unit near Newcastle where he started to receive regular visits from PAT dog Sweep.
Sweep's owner Ann even learned to communicate with Phil using the alphabet and small nods of the head. These special Pets As Therapy visits were so beneficial that Phil started going out again in his wheelchair by going along to training classes simply to be near Sweep. Phil nominated Sweep for the PAT dog of the Year contest as in his words "Sweep gave me back my life, because of him I learned to live again."
Sweep is a very busy PAT dog and as well as visiting Phil he also regularly visits in two residential and nursing homes and in two special needs schools with children, all in the Newcastle/Gateshead area.
At the Kennel Club on the 23rd October the award PAT dog of the Year will be presented to Sweep by well known personality Linda Lusardi.
Hundreds of nominations were received from Hospitals, Residential homes, Day Care Centres etc., and readers of the national magazine Take A Break were asked to vote for the winner.
Sweep stormed ahead in the voting taking him into 1st place and the title of PAT Dog of the Year.
If you would like further information on either the Awards ceremony at The Kennel Club or about the PAT Dog of the Year, Sweep pleas\e contact - Maureen Hennis Director - North of England & Scotland Pets As Therapy. Tel. 0870-730-8484.