The DFS Crufts Friends for Life Competition, presented by the Kennel Club, is the search for Britain’s ultimate hero – of the four legged variety – and the voting lines for this year’s five finalists are now open.
A search dog that has saved countless lives sniffing out explosives in Afghanistan; the first dog in the UK to detect a rare disorder in its owner that can cause death; an assistance dog that has changed the life of a nine year old with a life limiting condition – all are amongst those searching for your votes in order to be crowned as DFS Crufts Friends for Life Winner 2010.
Friends for Life, which has been running since 2006, celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have truly earned the title of man’s best friend, through bravery, support or companionship.
The dog that the public has voted as having the most truly deserving tale will be presented with its trophy during a special ceremony in the main arena at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of DFS Crufts (Sunday 14th March) which will be televised live by More4.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “The dogs that are nominated for this year’s Friends for Life competition have had a truly life changing impact on people’s lives and can teach us all a lesson about loyalty, companionship and bravery. Each has done well to get this far but it is now up to the public to vote for the dog’s story that inspires and moves them the most, so that they can be presented with their trophy in the main Arena at DFS Crufts.”
Friends for Life is one of a number of events and competitions at DFS Crufts that celebrates the diverse role that dogs play in society and the way that they enrich our lives. For example the close relationship between dog and owner will be celebrated in the agility, obedience and showing competitions, police dogs will be rewarded for their bravery in the Police Dog Team Operational and Humanitarian Action of the Year Award, and British Heritage Breeds that are vulnerable due to a decline in popularity will be celebrated in a parade that is dedicated to their future prosperity.
You can vote for your favourite Friends for Life story on the numbers below.
DFS CRUFTS FRIENDS FOR LIFE FINALISTS 2010
BOUNCER, SPRINGER SPANIEL CROSS AND OWNER PAULA COGAN FROM WILSDEN, LONDON:
Having been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 9 months old and needing a double lung transplant by the age of 13 Paula was used to having to cope with a life full of health challenges and long periods of hospitalisation. She got Bouncer when she was 6 years old andhe gave her the motivation to carry out tasks that were increasingly difficult for her, from daily chores to daily walks and he repaid her with his friendship. It was the thought of coming back to Bouncer and looking forward to having the energy to be able to teach him new skills in agility and showing that got Paula through her transplant surgery, which has now given them both a new lease of life.
CALL 0844 646 02 01 TO VOTE FOR PAULA AND BOUNCER
TREO, BLACK LABRADOR RETRIEVER AND OWNER SERGEANT HEYHOE:
Was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2008 as an arms explosive search dog and quickly adapted to the austere environment and daily challenges of life in a war zone. During his time in Helmand Province he showed amazing skill and bravery and made the biggest achievement of this career in August 2008 by sniffing out explosives which had been wired together in a daisy chain and hidden in the path, saving the lives of soldiers and civilians.
CALL 0844 646 02 02 TO VOTE FOR SERGEANT DAVE HEYHOE AND TREO
JOSIE, YELLOW LABRADOR RETRIEVER AND OWNER SAM DALY:
Sam Daly, a nine year old boy with a muscle wasting disease says that “things were rubbish” before assistance dog, Josie, “came to love him.” Josie, who was matched with Sam by Dogs for the Disabled in 2008, helps with Sam’s physio, opens doors and takes his socks off, all tasks that his condition, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, makes too difficult for him to do on his own.Since Sam and Josie have been together Sam has become much more confident and outgoing, because he is proud to talk about his new best friend. To vote for Sam and Josie call or text.
CALL 0844 646 02 03 TO VOTE FOR SAM AND JOSIE
COCO, CHOCOLATE LABRADOR RETRIEVER AND OWNER KAREN RUDDLESDEN FROM BROADSTONE, DORSET:
Coco is the first dog in the world to be able to detect a potentially fatal attack of Addison's disease in her owner, Karen. Coco saves Karen's life everyday by alerting her to when the Cortisol levels in her body fluctuate. He stops Karen from falling into a coma at least twice a week, by detecting when her body's cortisol falls below a certain level and fetches her medicine bag. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust Cancer has given £25,000 to the Cancer and Bio-detection Dogs charity, which trains dogs to detect cancer and hypo alerts in diabetics, and Coco is its first Addison's assistant dog.
CALL 0844 646 02 04 TO VOTE FOR KAREN AND COCO
JODY, CROSS BREED AND OWNER JESS THOMAS FROM BIRMINGHAM:
It was after seeing a Pets As Therapy dog at Birmingham Children’s Hospital that 16 year old Jess began to smile again and found the will to fight her severe depression. Two years later, having seen the transforming effect that the PAT dog had on her life Jess registered her own dog, Jody, with the Pets as Therapy charity so that she could help other children in the same way. PAT dog Jody helped not only Jess but all of the other children that she went to see on the road to recovery. Despite becoming seriously ill with respiratory failure last year Jess pulled through with the thought of wanting to carry on her good work transforming other’s lives with Jody and with a promise of a parachute jump to raise money for Pets As Therapy and the work of PAT dogs, such as Jody, that she loves so much.
CALL 0844 646 02 05 TO VOTE FOR JESS AND JODY
Find out more about all of the 2010 Friends for Life finalists by watching them online here
8th March 2010
For further press information or interview requests please contact:
The Kennel Club Press Office
020 7518 1008
Notes to editors
Calls cost 5p from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary and from mobiles will cost considerably more. Details and Terms at Channel4.com/dfscrufts. Voting closes at 19:30 on 14th March.
The DFS Crufts main Arena programme, including the presentation to the Friends for Life winner will be broadcast live on More4 and on DFS Crufts TV at www.dfscrufts.tv.