An autism assistance dog which stopped a seven year-old boy biting himself in frustration and shutting himself off in his own world; a Labrador which saved his teenage owner twice from going into a potentially fatal diabetic coma; a Lurcher giving his owner a reason to live again following complications in pregnancy that left her unable to have children; and a dog helping his owner who considered taking her own life following depression caused by bullying, have been selected as finalists for the Crufts dog hero competition, Eukanuba Friends for Life.
The annual Eukanuba Friends for Life competition, run by the Kennel Club, celebrates inspiring stories of canine companionship in the face of adversity. The four dogs which have made the 2016 shortlist were selected by a panel of judges, including dog loving actor Martin Clunes, for their outstanding loyalty to their owners and for the way that they have irrevocably changed their lives.
Public voting is now open and the dog that goes on to receive the most votes will win the competition, with the winner being announced in the Genting Arena at the Birmingham NEC on the final day of Crufts, Sunday 13th March.
The finalists for 2016 are:
Actor and Eukanuba Friends for Life judge, Martin Clunes, commented: “The quality this year is as high as it's ever been in this competition. It testifies how many amazing heroic relationships there are between people and their dogs and the fact that dogs just simply keep on giving.
“It is a massive honour for the owners that their wonderful dogs get the recognition they truly deserve. Congratulations to all the finalists.”
Annaliese Reekie, Managing Director for competition sponsors, Eukanuba UK comments: “The Eukanuba Friends for Life competition celebrates the unique relationship we have with our dogs. At Eukanuba, we encourage owners to bring out the extraordinary in their dogs by providing them with premium nutrition and appropriate care, and as such, we’re thrilled to be sponsoring a competition that cares as much about our canine companions as we do. I have always had dogs in my life so know the joy, comfort and loyalty they bring – ultimately they will never let you down.
“All of the stories told by the entrants show how a dog has, in some way, transformed their lives, showing quite simply how important dogs are for us. I want to thank all of the people who decided to be part of the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition and have taken the time to share their incredible stories about their extraordinary dogs. We look forward to celebrating with our four finalists, and ultimately crowning the winning duo at Crufts on Sunday 13th March.”
The winner of the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition will receive £1,500 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the charity of the choice, with the other finalists receiving £1,000.
Judges from the Kennel Club and Eukanuba, alongside actor Martin Clunes, TV presenter Peter Purves, and journalist Stuart Winter, selected four inspiring finalists to go forward for the public vote. Voting opens today at 10.30am and closes at 2pm on Sunday 13th March and the winner will be revealed in the Genting Arena at Crufts that evening.
To vote for your favourite, text AZ, BOO, SCOOBY or TEDDY to 82727. Each text vote will cost £1 plus the standard network rate. All profits from votes will be donated to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust to help make a difference for dogs.
For full terms and conditions, please visit www.crufts.org.uk/fflterms, or for more information about the competition, visit http://www.crufts.org.uk/eukanubafriendsforlife. You can watch videos of the finalists' stories at www.youtube.com/crufts.