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‘PAT Dog of the Year 2004’ won by
Ex-Battersea Dogs Home’s ‘Ripley’

Tony Parkinson, Managing Director of sponsors HiLife Petfoods (left), pictured with Ripley, the winner of PAT Dog of the Year 2004 and his owner Christopher Samsa

A Shih-Tzu named Ripley who began life in Battersea Dogs Home has been declared ‘PAT Dog of the Year 2004’ by the charity Pets As Therapy (PAT). Ripley, together with owner Christopher Samsa, 38, of London was presented with his award at a special ceremony in London today (20 October) by Pets As Therapy Chairman Sir Peter Baldwin, celebrity chef James Martin and Tony Parkinson, Managing Director of the Awards sponsors, HiLife pet foods.

Sandra Black, senior play specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, nominated Ripley for the Award. Ripley and Christopher have been PAT visitors there for the last 16 months, interacting with the young patients. Said Sandra, "Ripley is a little charmer who brings joy and immense benefits to many children here who otherwise often suffer distress and anxiety. He helps bring normality, relief from boredom and a link with a home environment. Just being able to touch and stroke him is both pleasurable and therapeutic and can play a part in patients’ recovery. To be able to bring laughter and happiness and to aid sick children the way Ripley does is a tremendous gift."

Ripley’s award included a specially engraved crystal glass bowl by Signature Glassware, a commemorative certificate, £500 and six months’ supply of HiLife dog food.

Five runner-up PAT dogs each won £100, a crystal glass photo frame, a commemorative certificate and three months’ supply of HiLife dog food. Six Highly Commended PAT dogs received a commemorative certificate and HiLife Treats.

Voting was carried out by readers of Take A Break magazine and on the Pets As Therapy website. Nominations were received from establishments all over the country that are visited by PAT dogs, stating why their nominated dog was worthy of becoming PAT Dog of the Year 2004.

Tony Parkinson of HiLife said: "The achievements of PAT dogs and their owners can never be over-estimated. We are proud to support Pets As Therapy and especially to sponsor these Awards, which honour every one of the thousands of selfless volunteers and their very special dogs who do such invaluable work in so many parts of the community."