PAT Dog of the Year 2003, Border Collie Sweep,
pictured with proud owner Ann Quarrie and Linda Lusardi
At a special luncheon at the Kennel Club, awards were presented to the winners of this years PAT Dog of the Year Contest. The finalists came from far and wide and were presented with their awards by actress Linda Lusardi, and Robin Sharpe from Iams. This years contest was sponsored by Iams and supported by Take a Break magazine whose readers voted by telephone for the dog they wanted to win. PAT Dog of the Year 2003 is Sweep, a Border Collie owned by Ann Quarrie from Blaydon, near Newcastle upon Tyne.
As well as visiting in two Nursing Homes and two Special Needs Schools, Sweep also started visiting Phil Smith who had been blind from the age of eight, however further tragedy struck when Phil was involved in an horrendous road accident which left him completely paralysed from the neck down and unable to speak, drink or eat. Sweep's owner Ann even learned to communicate with Phil using the alphabet and small nods of the head.
It was Phil who made the nomination for Sweep saying "Sweep gave me back my life, because of him I learned to live again". Phil made the very long journey from his home in Whitley Bay to London to be at the Kennel Club for the Awards ceremony.
Ann Quarrie was delighted when Sweep was named PAT Dog of the Year however the biggest smile in the room had to be that of Phil Smith. The PAT Dog of the Year received a £500 cheque courtesy of Iams, a beautiful piece of crystal from Signature Glassware, a framed certificate and a special rosette.
The runners up to PAT Dog of the Year were Bess and Jake, Border Collies owned by Jean Starnes from Cornwall. They were nominated by two ward sisters at St. Austell Community Hospital. One of the sisters says "Bess and Jake are lovely. Their gentle approach is much appreciated by many of our patients some of whom are very poorly". Kiri a Golden Retriever owned by Heather Clark from Brook in Surrey. Kiri was nominated by staff and pupils of Treloar College. She visits pupils with learning and physical disabilities and her visits became so popular that they are now part of the official curriculum. Belle a black Labrador owned by Karen Carnovale from Gloucester, who visits at St. Christopher's School for children with learning difficulties. Katie, a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, owned by John Biggs from Slough who visits at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.
The runners up all received a £100 cheque courtesy of Iams, a special piece of Signature Crystal and a framed certificate.
After the presentation the winners had photographs taken with Linda Lusardi who said that she had thoroughly enjoyed her day with the lovely dogs and their owners.
It was a very special and humbling occasion to be amongst these wonderful dogs who do so much good work in the community and also show the general public the fantastic work that can be done by our friend, the dog.