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Scruffts: The cute, the glad and the cuddly!

Wendy Richards, EastEnders’ Pauline Fowler, chose Laura Moreno-Chamorro’s ‘Scampie’,
a rescue dog from the RSPCA, as winner of the Child’s Best Friend category.

Once bitten twice shy certainly doesn’t apply to them: a dog which was thrown out of a car on the motorway, a bitch beaten so badly she had to have a leg amputated, yet still they went on to make a valuable contribution to someone’s family.

The unenviable task of judging the best of these super, brave characters this year was taken on by Miss Wendy Richards whose alter ego is Pauline Fowler from Eastenders. Wendy has supported Discover Dogs from the outset, she never misses either this event or Crufts and this year we were also treated to an appearance by her on-screen dog, the little Cairn Terrier known nationally to millions as Betty. Betty did a lap of honour and I don’t think I have ever seen so many phone cameras come out so quickly as they did for this four legged celebrity.

The categories for the Scruffts Family Crossbred Dog of the Year were Most Handsome Crossbred Dog, Prettiest Crossbred Bitch, Child’s Best Friend and Golden Oldie.

Chief Steward Mason Minns ushered in the handsome dogs who had qualified from all over Britain and Nick Brooks-Ward’s commentary was as rousing as ever, he certainly knows how to get the crowd behind each and every exhibit. They all did a lap showing themselves to their best advantage, and Miss Richards had to try to select 1st to 3rd with only the 1st to go forward to the grand final. That honour went to Rosco the Yorkshire Terrier cross from Leicestershire. Rosco was described by the judge as really cute; he never stopped wagging his tail and loves doing agility.

2nd went to Harry who had a very unhappy start in life but is now very happy in his home and is a registered blood donor. Sparky came 3rd and he was a Battersea dog who is the constant companion of a 6 year old boy.

The prettiest bitch was won by Molly who qualified at the YKC National Camp with her handler Adam, who comes from Lincoln. Molly is a Bichon Frise x Yorkie and really is pretty; she is another rescue dog and her owners say ‘She is a joy to own’. 2nd was Millie the Beardie x Border Collie who travelled from Cheshire and who has the most endearing brown eyes. The 3rd place was awarded to Kizzy from Dorset, Kizzy was the most unlikely cross of the day, GSD X Shih Tzu, now that takes some thinking about!

The Child’s Best Friend category has to be one of the most difficult. So many children with their best friends, all coming from all over the country; they all look at you with hope in their eyes and only three places to be awarded. After much consideration the award went to Miss Laura Moreno-Chamorro’s Scampie who had qualified at the heats in Plymouth. Scampie is another rescue dog from the RSPCA and they say he is quite mischievous. The three legged Foxy was 2nd, and she was another Battersea dog, she loves football but is not the best of swimmers.

The final and most difficult category is the Golden Oldies. So many of the dogs in this category look nothing like veterans which says a good deal for their owners. Eventually the decision went to Laski the Greyhound x Saluki who had been born at the RSPCA kennels and at 9 months was the last of the litter to find a home. He too qualified at the YKC National Camp. Failey came 2nd and was a NCDL rescue that has gone on to win classes in obedience and heelwork to music competitions. In 3rd place was Jessica from Gloucestershire, she too had a difficult start start in life and her present owner bought her from a man in the street after seeing the awful condition she was in. These stories restore your faith in human nature after all.

The Grand final was now set and Nick Brooks-Ward rallied the crowd again as the 4 grand finalists entered into the arena. Miss Richards gave each one very careful consideration before awarding the Scruffts Family Dog of the Year Grand Final 2005 to Scampie and Laura, winner of the Child’s Best Friend category. 10 year old Laura also wants to work with rescue animals when she is older.