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Historic win for heroic owner’s dog

A GROENENDAEL bitch made history at the recent National Working and Pastoral Breeds Show by winning best of breed and RBIS, becoming the only Groenendael to attain such a high honour.

Fourteen month-old Vanistica Cayna at Chrisvale – a.k.a. ‘Cayna’ and pictured here – was bred by well-known BSD breeder Debbie Fleming of Vansitica affix, and is owned by Christine and Tony Isherwood. However, it seems that Cayna isn’t the only famous member of the Isherwood family as Tony received a Citizenship award for bravery from the local authority in the same week as Cayna made her mark on the show scene.

Tony works as a milkman in his home town of Darwen, Lancashire, running his own round and delivering dairy produce to his loyal customers almost every day of the year. One day eight years ago, Tony was on his rounds spotted a car moving slowly downhill by itself. He realised that there was no driver in it and managed to catch up with it, then opened the door, jumped in and apply the handbrake and stop the car. Not only was this in itself an act of great courage, but it was also a life-saving act. It turned out that there was a young baby asleep in the back of the car and Tony had saved its life by his prompt actions.

But this wasn’t the only life-threatening situation to involve Tony. A few weeks after his brave rescue, his milk truck was hit by an out of control school bus. Tony received multiple injuries and for some weeks his life was in the balance. Miraculously, he recovered from his injuries and resumed his daily milk round, which had been kept going by Christine and family friends.

Tony became a hero again three years ago by saving the life of an elderly lady. He had called to deliver milk at her house and became suspicious when he saw a shadow on the hall floor through the glass of the front door. It turned out it was the elderly occupant of the house who had fallen and couldn’t get up. Tony gained access to the house and alerted the emergency services. The old lady was taken to hospital and recovered from here ordeal.

Tony’s customers were so impressed by his heroism and sense of community, that they wrote to Blackburn District Council requesting that Tony be honoured for his community spirit and the local authority presented Tony with a Citizenship Award on July 13th. Like the true hero he is, Tony was modest in his acceptance of the award – indeed, he had not told anyone about his heroic rescues until some time after each event.

Tony’s wife Christine said; "He is a quiet, unassuming hero and we are all so very proud of him. He loves Cayna, who is our first Groenendael – we have four Tervueren – and he was delighted when she won Reserve at the National Working and Pastoral Show. I think he was more excited about her award than his own!"