Zak pictured with proud owner Vera Baird MP
NO, nothing to do with a dog show in the United States! writes David Cavill. This Westminster Dog of the Year is the long standing venture by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust to involve members of the House of Commons and House of Lords in the world of dogs by giving them their very own competition.
The competition is open to dogs from both Houses and all parties, with the title being judged on good deeds and personality rather than ‘pawlitical’ persuasion, good looks or pedigree.
It was a glorious Autumn day last Monday when fourteen candidates and their political masters and mistresses gathered in the Victoria Tower Gardens by the Thames for judges Clarissa Baldwin, who heads up Dogs Trust, Rose Smart, Commercial Manager of the Kennel Club and Roger Gale, MP who chairs the All Party Group on the Welfare of Animals to choose the lucky winners.
Each owner was interviewed in depth before the results were announced and finally Bedlington Zak was crowned ‘top dog’ as he was awarded the prestigious annual title of Westminster Dog of the Year 2004.
Belonging to Vera Baird MP (Labour, Redcar), Zak the Bedlington Terrier won the title because despite being blind he continues to enjoy life to the full. His owner says that Zak’s recent loss of sight has not stopped him from racing up and down his local beaches in Redcar, and he still gets along very well with other dogs.
Second place in this prestigious competition was awarded to crossbreed Harry belonging to Joan Ryan MP while in third spot was Cocker Spaniel Sweep owned by Lord Astor of Hever.
Aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership and the unique bond between a dog and his owner, the day was a great success and all participants barked they’d had a wooftastic time!
The winning line-up l-r: in second place Joan Ryan MP with Harry,
in first place Zak with Vera Baird MP, and third Lord Astor of Hever’s
Cocker Spaniel Sweep pictured with Lord Astor’s son