Winners

The winners of the 2013 Dogs Trust Honours are:


Dogs Today
Dog's Best Friend

Recognising adults and children who make a big difference to the lives of dogs. Young or old, these people are dedicated and passionate about dog welfare and go the extra mile to help the nation's canine companions.

Karen Lawe – The Deaf Dog Network

Karen is the co-founder of The Deaf Dog Network, an organisation that supports the owners of deaf dogs and the dogs themselves. Karen works tirelessly at educating the public, breeders and rescue centres on how to work with and train deaf dogs and helps people understand that a deaf dog can lead a normal life and doesn't need to face euthanasia. Karen owns three deaf dogs herself that she has trained using sign language and takes with her to demos at dog shows.

Many people would not consider taking on a deaf dog or even have them put to sleep through lack of understanding. Through her work, she has brought deaf dogs and owners together, bridging the communication gap and ensuring they create and maintain a close bond.

Karen also works with rescue shelters by advising them on the best ways to care for deaf dogs whilst in kennels. Dedicated Karen helps find foster care for both rescue and deaf puppies from breeders and continues on-going support for anyone who has taken on a deaf dog. Deaf dogs need a best friend like Karen, she speaks their language and teaches it to others.

Dogged Devotion

This category recognises pet dogs that provide emotional or medical support to their owners by acting as canine lifelines.

Daisy. Owner: Tracey Marshall

Daisy a Bull Mastiff. In her own words: "Daisy came into the life of Tracey at probably the most distressing time of her life, having just lost her six year old son, Jack, on 13th October 2011 after a two year battle with a brain tumour. Tracey, having loved and cared for her son all his short life and during the period of his illness, had seen her son distressed and enduring endless procedures & treatments. She never let go of hope that he would beat the illness. Tracey spent seven months caring and tending for her son 24/7 at the family home, barely leaving his side for fear of not being with him when the time came for Jack to fall asleep for one last time. When the inevitable happened, the void that was left was indescribable. 2011 was the worst year of the Marshalls' lives.

As if fate took a hand, they heard about Daisy a Bull Mastiff looking for a home and they immediately bonded. Daisy gave Tracey the feeling of purpose again and slowly but surely she started to mend this broken family. She also helped Josh who we mustn't forget lost a brother he loved dearly, Daisy became a best friend to him also.

Of course it didn't take the pain of Jack's loss away, it didn't mean she wasn't thinking of Jack but she now had a reason to go out of the house, which had been something she had found so hard to do and wasn't doing. She now had to as Daisy needed walking, so she had to face the outside world. Tracey knows that Daisy was indeed her lifeline.

A broken family has slowly been put back together piece by piece over time. It's a long road that Tracey and her family travel along and it will continue to be, but at their side every step of the way will be Daisy! I have never seen such devotion that Daisy has to Tracey. She truly was sent for a reason."


 
Pawfect Company

This award will recognise companies and establishments that welcome dogs with open arms.

Rambla Nursing Home

As told by Sue Stone, the mother of a resident: "My dog Spider used to spend the daytime with my mother whilst I was out at work. Last year, following a stroke, Mum had to go into nursing care. In choosing a home we took notice of how Spider was treated when we looked to find the best place for her.

We now visit Mum most days at the Rambla Nursing Home and I know that Spider's warm welcome and seeing him is what makes mum smile the most. Spider does not notice the changes in her - only that she is still his beloved 'Grandma'. When I arrive there, no one says 'Hello Sue', only 'Hi Spider - do you want a biscuit?' 'Have you come to see your Grandma?'

Additionally, Spider is now a great favourite with other residents there and is often asked to say hello to other residents missing the companionship of their dog friends. Occasionally Spider's cousins, Doogles and Elmo, join us on our visits - all three dogs are welcomed with open arms. Rambla Nursing Home respects the very important relationship between the elderly and the dogs they once loved.

The Mirror

 
Daily Mirror Hero Dog - Service

This award will recognise working service dogs, including but not restricted to police or search and rescue dogs.

Alice. Owner: Melvin O'Dowd

Alice is a Canine Partners assistance dog belonging to ex serviceman, Melvin O'Dowd. Melvin was in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers serving in Germany and Northern Ireland where he was injured in a bomb blast. Diagnosed with a spinal injury and post traumatic stress disorder, he is a wheelchair user and looks after his 15-year-old son on his own, dealing with his learning difficulties.

Despite their difficulties, since November 2012 life has improved tremendously since Alice came into the O'Dowd household. She is constantly by Melvin's side and knows instinctively how to make life better for him. In Melvin's words: "I feel that everyone else in my life seems to want something when I ask for help, but not Alice. She gets me and my son up every morning, helps me get dressed, helps me with the washing and makes sure I can get in and out the car safely. She makes me feel very secure."

Recently Melvin collapsed in the bathroom but Alice immediately raised the alarm by pulling the emergency cord despite only being shown how to use it once before. Thanks to Alice, within five minutes of collapsing Melvin had carers with him and they called an ambulance.


 
Hero Dog - Service

This award will recognise working service dogs, including but not restricted to police or search and rescue dogs.

Atraya. Owner: Tolemy

Atraya is a two year old Newfoundland who is a constant companion for seven year old Tolemey who suffers from an aggressive form of Leukaemia. Atraya came to live with Tol when he was a puppy and the pair immediately became best friends. David Pugh, who runs "Newfound Friends" and introduced Atraya and Tol, describes their relationship:

"Atraya enriches Tol's life in so many ways. He is there for him through thick and thin, through his treatments and has even helped him learn how to swim. They have a truly unique bond and despite his size, Atraya is a gently giant who Tol can totally trust and rely on. He has brought an incredible amount of sunshine to Tol's life and we are extremely grateful to him for the strength he gives this young boy in his fight with cancer."

Tol is under the care of Bristol Children's Hospital and is part of the organisation, "Newfound Friends", who help raise money for charities by using their Newfoundland dogs to rescue people in the water who have been sponsored. They have raised over £1 million since they started. Through the support of Atraya, Tol can now swim and has just achieved his 25 meter badge, a huge feet for a young boy who is so poorly.

The Mirror
Daily Mirror Hero Dog - Pet

The award for dogs that, without training, perform amazing acts of bravery or courageous feats.

Gypsie. Owner: Nicky Hoad

Gypsie is a Staffordshire Bull Terrie who was rescued at the age of 15 weeks from being used as a bait dog. A few years after rescuing Gypsie his owner had been using an exercise running machine in the house; she got off the machine, had a bath and went to bed. It should have been like any ordinary night. However, in the middle of the night Gypsie jumped on his owner's chest and licked her face until she woke up. He was scratching and pawing at the duvet, only then did she notice that Gypsie had been trying to tell her that the bedroom was on fire and filling up with thick black smoke. Thankfully the fire was manageable and Nicola was able to put it out before it spread through the house and into her young daughter's bedroom. It transpired that the running machine plug had overheated and caught fire.

The family owes Gypsie their lives, had she not woken them up, who knows what could have happened.

Hero Dog - Pet

The award for dogs that, without training, perform amazing acts of bravery or courageous feats.

Scampi. Owner: Rosie Foster

Scampi for the hero award as he bravely protected his owner from an attacker only three days after she had adopted him. Rosie Foster was out walking Scampi when she noticed a male looking at her; trying not to be intimidated she continued her walk but soon felt she was being followed and noticed the male had quickened his pace.

Suddenly Rosie was grabbed from behind and dragged towards some bushes, throughout all of this Scampi was frantically trying to fight the man off. Scampi, only small, bit the man so hard that he released Rosie and ran off. In fact, Scampi's mouth was DNA swabbed by the police and used as part of the evidence in tracing her attacker and bringing him to justice.

The little dog so bravely stayed by her side, Rosie is well aware of the man's intentions and that Scampi had saved her; even more amazing was that the pair had only known each other for three days – their bond is now even stronger. To add to all of this drama is the complication that Rosie has a blood disorder which causes her to black-out. Somehow Scampi has become adept at alerting Rosie to this before it happens, without any specialist training. Needless to say in the time the two have been together Scampi has become a real-life for Rosie and she now couldn't imagine her life without him.