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Friends for Life parade

Jessica and Shadow

The Kennel Club has short-listed six dogs and their owners to take part in the ‘Friends for Life’ parade, which is set to take place on Sunday, 12 March at the NEC in Birmingham just before Crufts Best in Show 2006.

Formerly known as ‘Hero Dogs’, the ‘Friends for Life’ competition, which is supported by PetPartners plc, will feature six moving accounts of how dog and owner have made a real difference to each other’s lives. These could be through bravery, rescue or simply companionship.

Whilst only one dog can take home the trophy, all the dogs and owners nominated for the award have demonstrated they truly are ‘Friends for Life’. The nominations are as follows:

Bertie, owned by Gill Stevenson from Aberystwyth, Ceredigion and nominated by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People– saved a lady’s life in hospital

Candy, owned by Mr Gale from Stokeferry, Norfolk and nominated by Petlog – showed bravery and courage after going missing

Poppy Louise, owned by Victoria Shaw from Rhos-Y-Mere, Wrexham – saved her life after a gas leak

Holly, owned by Nicola Smith from St Julians, Newport – Pets as Therapy dog who has provided incredible support to owner

Yogi, owned by Daniel George from Hebburn, Tyne & Wear and nominated by Dogs for the Disabled – Dog for the disabled turned guardian angel

Shadow, owned by Jessica Muckelt from Broughton Astley, Leicester nominated by the RSPCA – after nursing Shadow a rescue dog back to health, Shadow has helped Jessica, who has a form of autism, grow in confidence and independence

It is now up to the public to vote interactively for their favourite stories by tuning into the BBC2 Crufts programme, which will broadcast the tales throughout the event. The dog and owner with the highest number of votes will be crowned ‘Friend for Life 2006’ and be honoured with awards and well deserved recognition.

John Spurling OBE, Chairman of PetPartners said: ”The final six stories that have been identified include tales of 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 owners and carers. This gives us, as dog owners, an even stronger duty to our companions to ensure that we give back to them all we can.”