‘Tails of bravery’ finalists
The Kennel Club knows just how important all dogs are to society and why they deserve the title of ‘Man’s Best Friend’. Through Crufts this year - with the support of PetPartners plc and the BBC – the Kennel Club will be sharing with viewers to the Crufts BBC programmes, six very special stories illustrating the true heroism of dogs. For the very first time, viewers will have the opportunity to judge dogs at Crufts by voting for the dog which most deserves the title of ‘Kennel Club Hero Dog of the Year’.
Following the announcement that the Kennel Club has signed a new contract with the BBC to broadcast Crufts, together with the extra programme time that the BBC is giving to Crufts, the six dog nominations will be shown on the Crufts preview programme on Sunday 6th March, and viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite Hero Dog. Viewers will also be able to see all the stories in full through the BBC interactive service. The winner will be announced just before Best in Show on Sunday 13 March.
Said John Spurling, Chairman of PetPartners plc; "As one of the largest pet insurance companies in the UK, we are very excited about being involved in this new aspect of Crufts. Everyone will be able to take part in the show by voting for their favourite ‘Hero Dog’."
John continued; "The final six stories that have been identified include tales of bravery and outstanding loyalty to the dogs’ owners and society in general and illustrate the lengths that dogs will go to in order to look after their carers and owners. This gives us, as dog owners, an even stronger duty to our companions to ensure that we give back to them all we can."
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary concluded; "The Kennel Club aims to promote and protect the dog’s role in society and to highlight the message of responsible dog ownership. These amazing stories really do reflect the diverse talents of ‘man’s best friend’ and it is important to the Kennel Club that dogs, whether cross breed or pedigree, are rewarded for the many ways in which they enrich our lives. Even though there are only six stories highlighted at Crufts, there are many hero dogs out there. We are delighted that we have been able to portray just a few as well as providing the opportunity for viewers to vote!"
For details of the BBC programmes and how you can vote please log on to www.the-kennel-club.org.uk or telephone 0870 606 6750.
THE KENNEL CLUB HERO DOG OF THE YEAR AWARD 2005 SPONSORED BY PET PARTNERS PLC
Peter Kay Wilson and Mandy 0901 192 1021, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Mandy is a former trailhound, who Peter rescued when Mandy was close to starvation. Her treatment left her with severe health problems, developing pneumonia and a severe lung condition when younger. She almost died twice but was successfully resuscitated by vets. Not long ago Peter had fallen asleep in his living room when fire broke out, and despite being allergic to smoke, Mandy went into the room and woke him up. He’s convinced she saved his life. Mandy won the Companion Dog Club Rescue Dog of the Year title at the prestigious Discover Dogs show at Earl’s Court 2, London.
Maelee Forrester and Boswell 0901 192 1022, Long Ditton, Surbiton, Surrey
Maelea is a 28 year old blind lady from Long Ditton, Surrey. She lost her sight at the age of 4.
Maelea works as an animal psychologist training dogs and also does dog sitting. At 19, Maelea had her first guide dog, Adam, and also owned an Italian Spinone as a pet – the two dogs were very good friends. In March of 2004 Adam retired, and went to live with Maelea’s father, along with the Spinone. Maelea then spent nine months without a dog, and became very introverted, depressed and frightened to go out – it was the first time she’d had to cope without either adult or dog help while she was on the waiting list for a new guide dog.
Maelea decided to get a new pet Spinone in the meantime, and got one through Italian Spinone rescue. She took in Boswell, and they immediately bonded. Within days Boswell knew where the bus stops were and where to get off the bus, and to guide Maelea around obstacles. He behaves like a guide dog in that he never sniffs on the lead and is so good at his guide dog duties that Maelea has cancelled her request for a guide dog. She says Boswell has given her back her life.
Allen Parton and Endal, Clanfield, Portsmouth, Hampshire 0901 192 1023
Allen was a soldier and was injured in a car crash just after the first Gulf war. He suffered from amnesia, lost his voice and all his faculties and is now confined to a wheelchair. Endal is a ‘Canine Partner’ – a dog who initially didn’t make the grade, but bonded so well with Allen that he took him anyway. Allen credits Endal with bringing him back to life – he does everything – takes washing out of the washing machine, money out of the cash point and so on. On one occasion he even put Allen in the recovery position when he fell out of his wheelchair. Allen now fulfils a PR role for Canine Partners while Endal was recently awarded the PDSA Gold Medal. He is approaching retirement but will remain Allen’s best pal!
Bob Bainbridge and Tyson 0901 192 1024, Durham
Bob was walking his German Shepherd Tyson one evening, when he was attacked by five youths. He was knocked unconscious. Tyson stayed with Bob for five hours keeping his body warm in icy conditions, and only left him when he heard Bob’s father’s voice and led him to Bob. Doctors said Bob would have died without Tyson’s care.
Danny Morgan and Buster 0901 192 1025, Currently stationed in Northern Ireland
Buster, a Springer Spaniel army sniffer dog, is described by his handler Danny Morgan as just about the best sniffer dog he’s trained. Buster has sniffed out weapons in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, and Iraq and has won the PDSA Dicken Medal for bravery. He is now semi retired but still helps to train other dogs.
June Beech and Valentine, Wincanton, Somerset 0901 192 1026
Valentine is a four and a half year old mongrel donated to Hearing Dogs for training. According to June, Valentine is a paramedic, wonder dog and guardian angel. As well as being June’s ears, she has on a number of occasions, saved lives. Firstly Valentine alerted June to her father-in-law who had fallen in the bedroom between the bed and the wall as he had had a stroke. On the second occasion, June’s husband Steve had collapsed on the patio.
Valentine flew at June’s legs and led her to Steve. He had a suspected brain haemorrhage. On a third occasion, June went to cross the road in between two parked lorries. Valentine would not cross, but kept backing towards the pavement. June looked up to see a lorry passing at speed. She realised that she would have been underneath the lorry. Since then, Valentine will only let her cross on a pedestrian crossing.
There have been other occasions when she’s comforted people who are sick, as well as crying babies.