Heroic Endal ‘Dog of the Millennium’ dies
Allen and Sandra Parton announced last week the sad death of Endal, their beloved Labrador, who has died at the age of 13.
Endal was voted Dog of the Millennium and given both a PDSA Gold Award and a Gold Blue Peter badge for his devotion to wheelchair-bound Allen who was seriously injured while serving in the Gulf War. He became a media favourite after being photographed by a national newspaper helping Allen use a cash point machine.
The extraordinary story of how Endal came into Allen's life and gave him a reason to live again was told just last week in a Sky Real Lives documentary entitled, 'The Dog That Saved Our Marriage', and also in the book Endal, published last month by HarperTrue. Endal made his last public appearance on Saturday at Crufts on the OUR DOGS stand where he accompanied Allen and Sandra to a book signing.
Allen Parton said: ‘The world will be a sadder place without Endal. He devoted his life to me and for that I will always be grateful. He was a dog in a million.’
Having just completed the book and documentary, we had the unique and wonderful opportunity to explore Endal’s and my our past in such detail. We laughed at the things we had done and actually at some of the things Endal was invited to open: a school, aydrotherapy centre, even help launch Crufts and even open a wheelchair accessible loo! the list rolls on...
However, if I was to think of the most important thing Endal has opened over his thirteen years it has to be opening so many people’s minds to how important and valuable dogs are in our lives... well... it really is a job well done, my faithful Endal.
I still can’t pick a point in my life when I can say that I did something that deserved Endal’s unconditional love and devotion that I have experienced... I have been truly blessed, but now I realize that Endal was never only my dog: he was everyone's and the world truly is a sadder place for his passing.
His greatest legacy has to be bringing me back to my family and also mentoring faithful little EJ (Endal Junior), who is already punching above his weight and able to do 90% of what Endal was capable of, which would not have been possible if Endal had not been here. The two were as one and I would be being selfish to think my sense and feeling of loss was the greatest, because Ikea and EJ dearly miss him too... the three musketeers are two!
I was given the opportunity last Friday morning to tell Endal how much I loved him and to thank him for all he has done for me these last twelve years, and that is possibly the most important and significant moment of our relationship. He went peacefully in my lap surrounded by those who loved him most, much loved and now much missed.
When I kissed Endal on his muzzle as he and Allen exited the NEC last week, I knew that it would be the last time I saw him, but I never expected the end to come so soon.
I was privileged to have had the chance to spend quite a bit of time with Allen, Endal, EJ and Ikea on the Saturday while Sandra and Zoe were attending to final details at the NEC. I had asked Allen not to talk about the day as Endal’s last public appearance, as I didn’t want to lose my composure in front of Allen. We assiduously avoided the topic and chatted about the book, the documentary and other less emotional things.
I’ve known Allen and Endal for some years… I can’t actually recall when we met, but it was at Crufts and he was out in Hall 4, talking about his remarkable dog and posing for photos. Somehow, over time, this chance encounter evolved into a long distance friendship that has lasted ever since.
I remember Allen doing some press event several years ago, telling reporters and others about what Endal had done for him and his family. He put his hand on Endal’s head and said, with great emotion, ‘I can’t imagine what it will be like to reach down someday and not feel his head right there…’ There was not a dry eye in the crowd, and I could never after that day hear him refer to Endal’s advancing age or infirmities without fighting back the tears. Endal left his beloved family knowing that EJ would take care of Allen from now on.
Rest well, sweet dog.
I watched the wonderful documentary about Endal only recently, I knew he was on borrowed time but never guessed that the next day would be his last.
As I have five dogs myself - and cherish every one of them - my heart bleeds for the Partons. Endal was one-in-a-million, he brought a lifeline for a broken family, and heart-felt joy for the rest of us.
If EJ brings you half the support and sheer pleasure Endal brought you, he will have done his job well, too.
Love to you all.
There are very many dogs in the world and god every so often graces us with angels in furry coats. These are the dogs who have been here before and choose to come back and change peoples’ lives for the better.
Every year at Crufts I met with Endal, Allen and Sandra. After I lost Bella they were such a support to me and Endal was the first dog I saw afterwards and I cried into his fur.
A dog he was, yes, but when you look into the eyes of Endal you saw a wise spirit destined to be sent to this world to make a difference.
Allen and Sandra were blessed to have him in their life following such a tragedy and he was blessed to become a famous dog who has left behind a legacy for millions of people.
At Crufts 2009 I gave Endal a kiss in the press room (he was on his bed and we had a nice cuddle after what was a very long day for him) I told him he was special and loved - I did not know then that I was saying goodbye. It is with great sadness I write this tribute but I know where Endal is going - back home to where the angels live and I am sure my Bella will be there to greet him.
Jill Moss, President and Founder, The Bella Moss Foundation
Staff at the Kennel Club were truly saddened to hear of the death of our friend Endal last week, especially as it came just days after we had seen him at Crufts. This year’s Crufts was Endal’s 13th, and whilst old age was clearly starting to catch up with him, both he and his devoted owner, Allen Parton, were in good spirits.
During his many years of wonderful service to Allen, Endal became a key part of Crufts. He loved the atmosphere and coped with all the attention each year effortlessly. He brought a huge amount of pleasure to everyone at the show, whether he was taking part in photocalls or simply finding a quiet corner of the press office to grab forty winks.
The Kennel Club worked closely with Endal and Allen over many years, and we were pleased to make a special award to Endal at his 10th Crufts show in 2006. Prior to that he had been one of the nominees for the first Friends For Life award at the show, under its previous incarnation as Hero Dogs. Endal also previously helped to promote Crufts at its annual press launch and was amply rewarded for his sterling service with a good dinner in the Club Rooms at Clarges Street on several occasions.
Endal embodied everything that is wonderful about dogs and their special relationship with mankind. He was a genuine life-saver and constant companion to Allen and a friend to everyone else who was lucky enough to meet him.
All at the Kennel Club would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the Parton family and we hope that assistance dog, EJ, and Endal’s pal Ikea, will follow in Endal’s legendary paw-steps and bring comfort to them at this difficult time.
The Kennel Club
What can I say about Endal, the 'Big Yellow Fellow', as I used to all him? I can clearly remember when I first met Endal and his jovial human partner, Allen Parton. It was at Crufts some years ago and both were in the Press Office, being a thoroughly entertaining double act. I'd heard about them previously, of course, but wondered what all the fuss was about, but when I actually met them, and got to know Endal, I soon realised that the hype was justified.
Endal was not just a dog. He was not just an assistance dog. He was one of the most gentle, wise and compassionate souls I have ever met in my life.
Over the years, we all became firm friends. I was delighted when Allen became a Trustee of Dog Theft Action, and equally delighted when Endal became DTA's first canine advisor. The two of them were an integral part of the DTA team and always attracted lots of fans whenever they appeared at DTA events or at events where DTA was represented.
Sadly, old age catches up with us all, and Endal was retired last year. However, along with everybody else, I was delighted to see that the old chap had accompanied Allen to Crufts this year, along with his successor Endal Junior (EJ) and his friend Ikea. Endal took things easy, sitting on a dog bed in the Press Office before accompanying Allen to the hall to sign copies of Allen's book about his dear friend, entitled 'Endal'. I took the chance to stroke Endal and scratch his ears. Sadly, this was to be our last meeting and I was heartbroken to hear the news that he died less than a week later.
As I said, Endal was far more than a dog; he was a friend and an inspiration to people the world over. My sincere sympathies to Allen, Sandra, Zoe and Liam on the sad loss of such an integral part of their family.
Rest in Peace, Big Yellow Fellow!
Nick Mays, President, Dog Theft Action
I first met Allen and Endal in the press office at Crufts 2005 and since then have seen the Dynamic Duo on numerous occasions – some formal, some informal. The thing that always struck me about this incredibly intelligent and handsome dog, who behaved impeccably during public appearances, remembrance parades, TV interviews, dog shows and demonstrations, was that he was also a very happy and much loved pet with an endearing capacity for mischief.
Allen sometimes grumbled that Endal needed a bath after rolling in something unpleasant or he had chased a rabbit into the undergrowth while out on walks, but in the final weeks of Endal’s life he slept beside him on the floor so that his beloved dog – always on duty - would not wake during the night to check on his master. I could not help but laugh when Allen complained that he woke up one morning to find that Endal had availed himself of the comfortable settee during the night while Allen remained on the floor.
Although we were all expecting it, I was personally devastated to hear the sad news about Endal on Friday 13th March – it felt as though my own dog had passed away. Since then I have realised that the Parton family have shared Endal with dog lovers all over the world for 12 years. The intrusion into family life must have been hard to accept – but I’m so glad they did and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Endal made us all feel better and I will miss him more than words can express.
Margaret Nawrockyi, Dog Theft Action
On hearing about Endal’s death, many of the team at Dogs Trust took the opportunity to look back on his truly remarkable life. Not only was he a real lifeline and faithful friend to Allen, but he inspired many other people to seek greater independence through the help of a canine partner. To be named Dog of the Millennium sums up just how special Endal was, and everyone at the charity will greatly miss hearing about his loyal exploits.
The Dogs Trust
It was with immense sadness that I learned of Endal’s demise. I first met Allen shortly after he got Endal and the change in his personality over the years has been extraordinary. Endal gave him courage and a new freedom and together they became an inseparable duo. They were a shining and very fine example of the bond between man and his dog and an illustration of all that dogs do for their two footed companions.
Clarissa Baldwin, CEO Dogs Trust
No words are ever enough in these situations, so I would just like to say thanks to Allen for always sharing Endal with Our Dogs, thanks for making Endal’s last appearance at Crufts one that included us, and all at the paper send Allen and Sandra all their love: you must be so proud to have had Endal in your lives.
Ali Smith, Editor, OUR DOGS
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I was sad to hear of Endal's death. I had just finished reading the book and felt that he would have a happy retirement. Having had Labs myself I know how short their lives really are, so my thoughts and prays are with the family.
Everything has been send above but he is now running free at the rainbow bridge and will be waiting for Allan and Sarah.
I am so sorry to hear of Endal's death.
I read the book within a day whilst on holiday in February this year & thought it was excellent. I have a labrador, Oscar not anywhere near as useful or on the same level as Endal, he really sounds like one in a million.
I was brought Marley & me for my birthday last July by my sister in law (i am not one for books but have to say i couldnt put it down) Marley & me kick started my reading, & Endal continued it. I have just got back from the pictures watcing Marley & i recorded your documentary on sky +, i've just sat down to watch it & found that I'm not suscribed to the channel ... i cannot tell you how disappointed I am! but I am scouring the internet as I type to try & find it.
When I came to Crufts a couple of weeks ago, I was there on the Saturday & was looking out for you, Allen, EJ & Endal and regretably didn't look on the internet to find out (just seen details whilst looking for the documentary) where you were so never got to meet any of you & the wonder dog, Endal, now I have left it too late.
I think the canine partners is an excellent scheme, along with all the other charities that offer support to the people in this country that most need it to literally change peoples lifes & think you deserve more in the way of funding by the government rather than the people in this country that don't deserve it but unfortunately i dont think that will happen, but you can count on my support for life. I'm looking into pets as therapy volunteering as I would really love to follow your example, I have already looked into helping canine partners but unfortunately I'm not in the local areas but i will support you by donations.
Thank you both, & Endal for your truly inspirational story. Hope to see you at Crufts next year!