Crufts is asking members of the public to vote for their favorite in the Kennel Club Hero Dog Award. Five finalists have been submitted and the winner will be crowned the UK’s Most Heroic Dog at Crufts 2023.
The Kennel Club and awards ambassador Kay Burley revealed the shortlisted dogs and urged the public to vote here for the four-legged friend they would most like to receive the award. The annual award, supported by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, celebrates the unique relationships people have with their dogs and the vital role man’s best friend plays in our lives.
The winner will be announced by Sky presenter Kay Burley at the Resorts World Arena at the Birmingham NEC on Sunday 12 March, the final day of Crufts. This year’s award also honors the dogs involved in the search and rescue mission in Turkey and Syria after the catastrophic earthquake. These heroic teams will be recognized at Crufts for their bravery and dedication.
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The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award finalists for 2023 are listed below, in no particular order.
Springer Spaniel Bertie and his fundraising partner Ashley
Ashley Owens, 13, and her dog Bertie from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire have spent more than 650 nights camping in a tent as part of their ‘Sleep Helping Out’ fundraising campaign.
The duo are sleeping under the stars to raise £30,000 to help a volunteer-run charity, Paws2Rescue, on the Ukrainian border, helping find shelter for pets and owners and providing essential supplies to Ukrainians. The charity also provides shelter for stray dogs and is building a site with a play area, shelter and veterinary clinic where minor treatments and neutering will take place to reduce the hundreds of thousands of stray dogs.
“There are nights that are very difficult and I don’t want to go out,” says Ashley. “It’s pouring rain, the wind is blowing or I’m just not feeling too well. Then I think about the dogs. I know it’s a lot to raise £30,000, but I want the dogs to be safe, protected and fed.”
And 10-year-old Bertie gives Ashley a reason every night to continue her challenge. In times when Ashley has been feeling discouraged or faltering, Bertie is there to support him, and when the temperatures dipped below freezing, he kept Ashley warm too.
Retired police dog Stella and her owner PC Claire Todd
Police dog Stella has just retired from Gloucestershire Police after serving eight and a half years as a drug, cash and firearms recovery police dog.
Despite her dismal start to life as an RSPCA rescue dog, Stella overcame the odds in 2014 to become the UK’s first Staffordshire Bull Terrier police dog. In her working career, along with her owner, PC Claire Todd, Stella has found weapons and thousands of pounds worth of drugs and cash, making her a true canine hero working to keep her dogs safe. the nation. In addition to her vital work with the police bringing criminals to justice, he has also helped people overcome their fear of dogs during school and community talks.
Claire said: “I’m so proud of Stella. She’s an incredible ambassador for the breed, showing how loving, loyal and intelligent they are. She really earned her retirement.”
Dogs for the good service dog Albert and his owner Jemima
Jemima Banks, 24, from Warwickshire, has suffered from debilitating health conditions and chronic pain, which cannot be treated with surgery, since she was 16. The rapid and overwhelming changes in her life meant that her dream of going to college was no longer viable and she became isolated from friends who were now living the life she had hoped to experience. She had no independence and her invisible disease made her world feel small.
But her service dog, Albert, who Dogs for Good paired her with, has made a world of difference in her day-to-day life, restoring her independence and allowing her to thrive, both professionally and personally.
“Chronic pain destroys you on the inside,” says Jemima. “It’s relentless 24/7, and it’s easy to decide to do nothing with the day because you don’t want to deal with the pain. But now, for the first time since my health went downhill, I feel positive. about the future. .”
With Albert by her side, Jemima’s professional life is blossoming and she now works for a world-class law firm, where Albert is the star of the office.
Medical detection dog Asher and his owner Claire
Asher, a ten-year-old cocker spaniel, was rescued by medical detection dogs after being rehomed multiple times at the age of three. He was considered ‘mischievous’ and ‘neurotic’, but he soon realized that he just needed to be busy. Asher happily found a life-saving home and job with Dr. Claire Guest, founder of Medical Detection Dogs, which uses the incredible power of the dog’s nose to detect human disease.
“Asher is the kind of dog we love,” says Claire. “The reason he bounced off the walls is that he just wanted to ‘do.’ We give them something to do!”
Asher is now one of the most experienced members of the organization’s Biodetection team, which is helping scientists and doctors develop faster, cheaper ways to detect disease, and has played an important role in helping to show that dogs can detect the scent of disease and be a rapid, accurate and non-invasive diagnostic method for some of the leading causes of death in the world.
Much has been learned from his brown, twitchy nose: Over the years, Asher has caught Parkinson’s disease, malaria and covid-19.
The Beauty family pet and the Bellamy family
Beauty the Labrador retriever has helped the Bellamy family of Swansea through the toughest of times, and remains the best four-legged friend to all of them.
Eleven-year-old Lily, the youngest in the family, was diagnosed with leukemia just two months after Beauty joined the family. The dog has been a tonic during this very difficult time. She is the only member of the family who can make Lily laugh when she undergoes weekly chemotherapy or takes steroids that can really affect her mood.
Wayne, Lily’s father, also has epilepsy, which has worsened with the pressure and stress of the situation with Lily. But Beauty can sense what’s happening and she barks to alert Wayne and the family before a seizure starts. She has on numerous occasions even stepped in to break her fall, which has meant fewer hospital visits for stitches or head injuries, and less stress and worry during what is already a difficult time for the entire family. family.
“I can’t find the words to express how happy we all are that Beauty has been recognized as a hero,” says Wayne. “The smile on Lily’s face when she found out would have brightened a very dark room.”
Host Kay Burley, Ambassador for The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award 2023, said: “These five special dogs are not only heroes to their owners but also to the rest of us. They make a world of difference every day by providing love, companionship and dedication, protect the nation and save lives.
“No one can deny the remarkable impact dogs have, from the joy they bring each day to standing by our side during our most difficult times and displaying extraordinary loyalty and bravery. The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award is a celebration of this unique bond. that we share. with dogs and their heroics: vote for your four-legged hero and celebrate these five inspiring dogs.”
The winner of The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award will receive £5,000 from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the canine charity of their choice, with the other finalists receiving a £1,000 donation to their chosen canine charity. Members of the public can view each of the finalists’ stories in specially created videos, and vote for their 2023 Hero Dog, until 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 12 at crufts.org.uk/herodogaward