On Tuesday 14th October the International Fund for Animal Welfare held it’s annual awards ceremony for “Animal Heroes”. The awards were hosted by Baroness Gale at the House of Lords. Among the award winners many well known names featured such as Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Emma Milne. Not so well known but truly deserving of awards were a number of people who dedicate their lives to rescuing dogs or in the case of Mandy the Rescue Dog who has twice saved her owners life.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescues, Bob Whittall, a tireless worker helping Staffordshire Bull Terriers and SBT crosses, was awarded the Animal Rescue Award. Bob who runs the Northern Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue based in Cumbria, told Our Dogs, “It is a huge honour, and is not just for myself but for all the dedicated people who have worked with me to help re-home and rescue Staffords,” Bob told Our Dogs that the award had come as a great surprise. Bob and his fellow workers provide a home for strays and abandoned dogs as well as rescuing bull terriers from situations of cruelty and neglect.
Like many involved in Staffordshire Bull Terriers Bob feels that the breed has suffered from greatly irresponsible breeding, to fill a fashion market and make some money, with no thought to the animal’s future. These dogs are bred with no controls and no health testing. As Bob told Our Dogs, “The Stafford is a great family dog, and it is sad to see so many in rescue, due to irresponsible owners and irresponsible breeding” Adding that he felt that something needed to be done to control breeding. Bob concluded that supply far exceeds demand, as the dogs are the ones that suffer, and they, “Have no voice and no choice”. Our Dogs believes this is a well deserved win for the dedicated people who give up so much to rescue dogs.
Other winners were Liz Walsh a Blue Cross community nurse who visits the elderly and disabled to provide veterinary care for their pets, Jess Thomas who was visted by a PAT dog and was inspired to train her own dog to become a registered PAT dog and now visits Birmingham Childrens Hospital, Barby Keel who looks after over 500 unwanted animalsat a sanctuary she set up and to Mandy the rescue dog who saved her owner Peter Wilson’s life by alerting alerting him to a serious fire at the rescue centre and last year taking back rescuers to the fells, where Peter had collapsed after a heart attack during a walk.
“These are very special awards and it is great to be able to recognise so many deserved heroes,” said IFAW UK Director, Robbie Marsland. “I hope this will inspire other people across the entire UK to help animals in need.”