Dog who changed owner's life after strokes is heading to Crufts 2013

A dog from Gravesend in Kent which helped his owner recover after she suffered two strokes is heading to Birmingham next Sunday (11th March) to compete at the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts.

Ludo, a five year old Portuguese Water Dog, became the inspiration for owner Cheryl Matton’s recovery after she fell ill suddenly back in 2010.

Cheryl, now 30, suffered two strokes, leaving her with slurred speech, reduced vision and the inability to read or recognise family members. Following this life-changing incident, Ludo was looked after by family members temporarily whilst Cheryl recovered in hospital.

After eight long days in the hospital, Cheryl returned home with Ludo, at which point their bond was strengthened.  Cheryl says: “After spending ten minutes sniffing and checking me out, he decided his main purpose from that moment on was to protect me.

“I spent the next three months trying to recover as best I could, but I quickly realised I had become quite fearful of leaving my house and I seriously lacked self-confidence.  I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever taking the dogs to dog shows again.”

With the help of an occupational therapist, Cheryl was able to walk Ludo herself again safely, and the pair got back into training classes.

Cheryl says: “Ludo adapted so well to my new ‘funny speech’ and slower pace that we were finally encouraged to enter another dog show which has now led us to Crufts.

“It has been a long battle during my recovery and through it all Ludo has been my rock, along with my husband of course! My confidence and health has improved so much due to my life with dogs, and taking them to dog shows has played a massive part in this.  Ludo was even awarded his Show Champion title after doing so well at Kennel Club-licensed Championship shows.

“I truly owe my life as it is now to all my dogs, but one in particular – the beautiful Ludo.”

As well as competing at Crufts, Ludo will be representing his breed at the Discover Dogs area of the show, where the public are invited to come and meet around 200 different breeds of pedigree dog, and find out more about their favourites by speaking to breed experts.

Crufts takes place at the Birmingham NEC from 7th – 10th March. For more information or tickets visit

28th February 2013

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Notes to editors
•    Watch Crufts on More4 from 6.30pm – 9pm on 7 – 9th March and from 5.30 – 8pm on 10th March on Channel 4. The coverge will include all of the highlights from the Arena programme, including the presentation to the Friends for Life winner. Also watch Crufts live on the Crufts YouTube Channel:
•    Tickets cost £14 for adults in advance and £17 on the door. Best in Show tickets start from £17.50. Concessions are also available. All tickets are subject to a booking fee.  Book by calling the Crufts Ticket Hotline at The Ticket Factory on 0844 444 99 44, or online at