PAT Pets in the Crufts Spotlight
Town and Country Pet Foods is proud to sponsor six perfect pets and their caring handlers, as they gear up for a turn in the spotlight at the world’s most prestigious dog show, Crufts.
They’re not your regular pedicured, blow-dried, quick trotting show contestants though. These six dogs do spend most of their days looking pretty, but they also bring unbridled joy to thousands of people when they need it most. The super six dogs are affiliated to the Pets as Therapy charity (PAT) and are looking for your vote to win the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year title, which is running for its 11th successive year.
Lily, Marnee, Kahlea, Chief, Islay and Gunner can usually be found nuzzling the needy at hospitals, care homes, schools and even prisons, where they bring comfort, smiles and friendship to thousands of people each week. On Friday 6th March, 2015, their regular roles will be put aside as the dogs and their handlers take centre stage at Crufts.
What makes HiLife’s PAT Dog of the Year finalists so special? Say hello to the super six:
Lily is a seven-year-old Tibetan Spaniel that regularly visits people at a variety of care and education settings in Essex. Lily visits young adults with mental and physical disabilities, those suffering the early onset of dementia and teenagers with autism. She also likes nothing better than taking a trip to see the elderly at St Luke’s Day Centre, Rochford. Lily has been a PAT dog since the age of just eight months. She’s gentle, loving and calm and seems to pass this on to all the patients she meets.
Marnee is an eleven-year-old Golden Retriever that has had many experiences with stroke rehabilitation patients, she has worked with a dog phobic girl and helps those with mental and physical disabilities and people with a hospital phobia. She also works with autistic children and those with severe dementia. Marnee is very quick to sense those who are afraid or wary of dogs. She then makes it her duty to win them around and get them stroking her. She always succeeds and is especially good with blind or partially sighted people.
Kathlea is a Samoyed who regularly visits care homes in her native Cheshire, where the residents absolutely adore her. She quickly strikes a rapport with everyone she meets and has even managed to get some residents who do not normally speak, quite animated. Some residents are a little afraid of dogs until they meet the seven-year-old.
Chief is a big-hearted Border Collie who brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of children who enjoy his visits to primary schools on Merseyside. Chief’s a calming influence and comforts children if they’re upset. He is a very gentle soul who seems to have the gift for making anyone who meets him feel special. He's a wonderful dog that can't go anywhere without someone asking if they can stroke him.
Islay is cute little miniature Schnauzer that regularly visits her local hospice in Hull. Islay is very good-natured and recently helped one lady who is in a wheelchair, overcome her fear of dogs. She also visits youngsters with special needs and supports them in their learning by helping to create a calm atmosphere, which encourages children to take part in new activities. Islay also helps children with autism communicate better. Her visits encourage good behaviour, fun and laughter. Local primary school pupils often benefit from her visits as part of the Read 2 Dogs Programme, which has seen her bring a calming atmosphere to the classroom and real purpose to vulnerable children’s reading sessions.
Gunner is a larger than life Alsatian that does his rounds at the care homes local to his Orpington residence. Gunner tends to see different people each time he visits and certainly brightens their day. He greets residents and does a little trick while waiting for a treat. Then he lies quietly at their feet while his handler chats to their newfound friends.
Like Islay, the cuddly three-year-old has just started to visit a couple of primary schools as part of the Read 2 Dogs Programme. It is hoped his calming presence will bring confidence to children that struggle with reading.
For more information on the finalists, to vote and to qualify for a prize of £100 worth of HiLife pet food, please visit the Yours magazine website
The HiLife PAT Dog of the Year Award winner will receive £500, plus three months’ supply of tasty HiLife dog food.