Crufts announces the nation's top canine hero: Bob and a team of lifesaving Newfoundland's
Bob, and a wider team of lifesaving Newfoundlands led by Pete Lewin, have tonight, (Sunday 13 March) been announced as the winners of The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award competition at Crufts 2022.
Pete Lewin, from Leicester, runs a non-profit organisation working with his Newfoundland dogs for suicide prevention. This amazing team provides support for staff from front-line emergency services and military veterans, and those struggling with their mental health. With the Covid-19 pandemic, this has never been more important.
Pete, who himself is a long-standing front-line paramedic for the East Midlands Ambulance Service, has worked with water dogs as a hobby for around 25 years. Both his own experiences and feedback from others about the positive effects of swimming in open water with Newfoundlands, who are natural water rescue dogs, made him realise the potential for a unique experience to support people with mental health needs.
Bob and the lifesaving Newfoundlands were one of five hero dog nominations shortlisted for The Kennel Club Hero Dog Award competition in February. The finalists shared their unique stories of the impact that each dog has made on their life, with the nation voting for their favourite. The winner was announced in the Resorts World Arena on the final day of the world’s greatest dog show by actress and award ambassador Sally Phillips.
Proud Pete and his deserving team of Newfoundlands were presented with their award and a cheque for £5,000 from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust for a dog charity of their choice. The four other finalists also received £1,000 for their chosen dog charity for making it to the prestigious final.
Speaking about their win, Pete said: “Tonight has been incredible. I can't put into words how amazing it is. I never expected all of this, I'm just a paramedic who helps people by swimming with my dogs. The work we do is for the emergency services staff, veterans, disabled children with different needs. Getting this award is just amazing - not just for me but the whole team and the breed, it's quite unique what these Newfoundlands do.”
Sally Phillips, the award's Ambassador, said of the winner: "These dogs are life-savers, they are heroes, and they are all winners. Well done to Pete and the Newfies, what they do is very very touching. It's wonderful to recognise the relationships we have with our dogs through this award."
Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “We congratulate the team of Newfoundlands and Pete on winning this year’s Hero Dog Award. What they do is inspirational. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena! All the finalists perfectly demonstrated their incredible bond they have and the companionship they provide to their owners, and the wider contribution dogs can make to society. All the dogs and owners have transformed each other's lives for the better and we thank them all for sharing their deeply personal stories with us all. They are all winners.”
The five dogs which made the 2022 final were selected by a panel of judges from The Kennel Club, where they were chosen for the lifetime of love and loyalty they give to their owners and for the way that they have irrevocably changed their lives.
To find out more about the award, visit The Crufts website.