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BBC show seeks Guide Dog of the Year


Guide Dog puppy Crumble with BBC Breakfast presenter Chris Hollins

Guide Dogs has teamed up with BBC ONE’s flagship morning news programme, BBC Breakfast, to launch an ‘ins-paw-rational search to find the nation’s Guide Dog of the Year 2007.

The special ‘top dog’ BBC Breakfast Guide Dog of the Year Awards aim to recognise the amazing and life-transforming work of the 4,700 guide dogs currently providing independence, confidence and freedom to their blind or partially-sighted owners around the UK.

Guide Dogs has teamed up with BBC ONE’s flagship morning news programme, BBC Breakfast, to launch an ‘ins-paw-rational search to find the nation’s Guide Dog of the Year 2007.

The special ‘top dog’ BBC Breakfast Guide Dog of the Year Awards aim to recognise the amazing and life-transforming work of the 4,700 guide dogs currently providing independence, confidence and freedom to their blind or partially-sighted owners around the UK.

BBC Breakfast viewers and other members of the public are encouraged to visit a special area of the Guide Dogs website dedicated to the awards, www.guidedogs.org.uk/awards, where anyone can nominate a guide dog they know. There are three Guide Dog of the Year award categories (the closing date for nominations is Thursday 05 July):


Life-changing – for guide dogs that have truly transformed their owner's life

Heroic – for guide dogs that have either overcome adversity or performed a heroic act

Exceptional Work – for guide dogs that have gone 'above and beyond the call of duty'

A panel of judges will select regional finalists from around the country who will be put forward for the chance of winning one of the three national awards categories in August. BBC Breakfast viewers will then decide which of the three category award winners they would like crowned Overall Champion Guide Dog of the Year 2007.

As part of the launch, BBC Breakfast reporter Chris Hollins was live at Guide Dogs’ national breeding centre, near Leamington Spa. Viewers also saw a heart-warming film about guide dog Larry, last year’s champion, who has had a huge has impact on the life of his 30-year-old owner Mark Pollock, from Northern Ireland.

Mark said: ‘Nothing compares to that first walk alone with a guide dog. I was scared and overjoyed all at once. I can best describe it by saying that I was literally shaking with the feeling that I’d got my life back.

‘I was so proud when Larry was crowned Overall Champion Guide Dog the Year in 2006. We’ve really enjoyed basking in his glory and were even finalists in the Crufts Friends for Life competition! We’re looking forward to handing over the title to another well-deserving guide dog, who will follow in Larry’s golden ‘pawsteps’.’

Nikki Wright, a spokesperson for Guide Dogs, said: ‘We’re really excited that BBC Breakfast is championing our Guide Dog of the Year Awards this year. Viewers will gain a fascinating insight into the enormous difference these special dogs make to the lives of their visually-impaired owners.

‘Although all our guide dogs are extraordinary in their own right, the BBC Breakfast Guide Dog of the Year Awards will recognise some of those dogs that are truly outstanding, having completely changed the life of their owner, performed a heroic act or gone above and beyond the call of duty in their amazing work.’

BBC Breakfast Editor, David Kermode, said: ‘We're delighted to be part of this. We know from our 'police dog puppies' series that our viewers really engage with stories about dogs that make a difference. I'm sure that they'll relish the chance to be involved.’