Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Crufts Friends for Life - Holding back the tears

One of the biggest dog shows of the year, Crufts celebrates every aspect that man's best friend plays in our lives!

However the category which stole the show for me, aside from Jilly the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen  winning Best in Show 2013, was the Friends for Life category.

First appearing in 2004, this competition was created to highlight our dog's bravery, companionship and support and give him or her the recognition they deserve.

I couldn't help but tear up when listening to all the finalists different stories and how they came to be selected.

There was Brin - the Afghanistan dog who survived capture by the Taliban after he saved the life of two soldiers by alerting them of a hidden bomb.

Janus the police dog has 433 arrests to his name and, alongside his handler PC Dan Thomas from West Midlands Police, has also uncovered £5,000 stolen from a security van heist and sniffed out more than £10,000 worth of stolen power tools.

Daisy helped her owner Tracey to come to terms with the loss of her son and and family pet to tumours in the same year. She helped them to fill the void of losing family members and Tracey to be able to leave the house when some days she couldn't face the world.

Maz and Ziggy are assistance dogs who helped their owners find love. Sue had almost given up after her original assistance dog died after helping her when she developed spinal bacterial meningitis and Byron who has been in a wheelchair since childhood due to polio was devastated when his childhood sweetheart died. They were bought together as their original assistance dogs were sisters and now Maz and Ziggy show care that can't be matched.

All these dogs are outstanding, but the two heartbreakers of this year's finalists and the winners were Haatchi and Owen.

A three-legged stray, Haatchi had to have a leg and his tail amputated after he was tied to a railway line in London and was hit by a train. Just a month after this horrific experience Owen, a seven year old with a genetic condition called Schwartz Jampel Syndrome, found him on Facebook and so began their new lease of life.  

Owen is now not as painfully shy as he once was and fundraises for a variety of different charities and Haatchi is a therapy dog who will begin visiting soldier amputees and sick and terminally ill children.

It is amazing what animals can do for the ones they love, especially when they have already gone through so much in their life. It is the dog's ability to forgive and forget and love unconditionally which makes them man's best friend.

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