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British Dogs
Dog of the Year 2020/21

Meet Nora

Thanks to her dog Nora, Lorna has reclaimed her life and discovered a new sense of happiness

Nora is the dog that saved my life. When I was 27, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of arthritis and was in constant pain. Small tasks such as putting on my socks became difficult, and had it not been for Nora, I think I would have given up.

Because of my dog, I have a purpose

She was always there for me, helping me through the pain and giving me a reason to carry on. Taking her on walks got me up and out in the morning. It took me almost a year to be officially diagnosed and then another year to get the right medication so that the pain was tolerable. I’ve had to give up so much since then, but Nora has remained by my side throughout it all.

If I’m having a bad pain day she seems to know and will do something silly just to make me smile. On good days, we enjoy going out together and taking in the fresh air. Nora has given me back the dreams I thought I’d lost. Because of my dog, I have a purpose. With her by my side, I can take on any challenge that life throws at me. We’ll get through it together.

Meet Lizzy

Eris loves everything about her dog Lizzy, who might appear a bit grouchy on the outside, but is the kindest, most loving dog on the inside.

Lizzy is all the things you don't want. She's stubborn, always thinks she knows best and incredibly grumpy if her dinner is late.

Despite all that, she's been my rock since we rescued her at three years old. She's seen me through clinical depression and anxiety, and still is there for me when I need her. With the isolation the current climate has brought, taking her for walks and spending lots of time cuddling has been my therapy.

She’s been my rock

Lizzy never fails to make me laugh, and she remains bouncy and energetic, lighting up whenever she gets a sniff of agility equipment. I'm honestly not sure how she keeps going, behaving like a dog half her age, the only real sign being that after her mad romps she does need to sleep for a while. But, as soon as that's done, she's ready to go again!


Meet Julio

Things were tough for Aamer and her family, but Julio brought them a new lease of life and helped them to smile again.

This past year and a half have been quite hard on me and my mum, as we have lost a lot of family members due to a number of reasons, even our beloved dog Ceaser. Things were very bad, and for the first time I felt depressed and tired of life. But then we brought our beloved puppy, Julio the German shepherd, into our lives, and slowly but surely things changed for the better.

He has been a blessing to us

He helped me make new friends on all of our walks. Ok – he does drag me along rather than walk with me, but even that helps as it’s a great workout and cheers us all up! He has a lot of energy in him, and even though that can tire me out at times, it keeps me on my toes and helps me stay motivated.

He loves my 14-year-old son, and he loves him too and has learnt a sense of responsibility thanks to Julio. In short, he has been a blessing to us – although, our sofa definitely does not feel the same way, as he’s chewed it all up!

Meet Merlin

Merlin may not be an official assistance dog, but he goes above and beyond for Fiona every single day

Merlin is a very friendly and good-natured Black Labrador. He’s also extremely helpful, and likes to assist his Aunt Scatty (our neighbour) clean out the stable. He follows her up and down the paddock whenever she’s going to the trailer, keen to be of use in any way he can.

As my unofficial assistance dog, Merlin helps my husband Darren care for me. He fetches him when he thinks I need a hand and always looks after me when I fall. He loves to be there for me, picking up things when I drop them and carrying my stuff around the house.

Merlin is my companion and my best friend

My medical problems and disabilities mean that I spend a lot of time resting and confined to my bed. You can always find Merlin curled up on the end, keeping me company. Sometimes, he shares the role with Sammy the cat so he can have a break. Merlin is my companion and my best friend. Most importantly, he knows when I’m upset and always gives me extra kisses and cuddles to make me feel better.

Darren is diabetic, and so Merlin likes to look after him too. He’s quicker than we are to pick up on his low blood sugar, and always knows when Darren needs his medicine – often, he’s the one reminding me!

Merlin is very caring and affectionate, but he can also be a little scamp. He loves putting his cold nose in your ear and trying to give you a bath. He also likes to lend a paw whenever he can, and can often be found helping out with DIY jobs around the house. When he’s not assisting us in our day-to-day lives, Merlin enjoys running around outside and playing with his favourite toy, Bertie Bunny.

Meet Indie

Sam’s dog Indie is a bit of a mischief-maker, but that’s what makes her so adorable

Indie is a family dog. She absolutely loves our children, especially when they let her on the sofa for early morning cuddles.She also enjoys long walks in the woods when it’s dry and occasionally the beach too, although she isn’t a fan of the sea, or any water for that matter.

Often ends up licking people in the face

I wish I had kept a diary of everything Indie destroyed when she was a puppy. She was such a heavy chewer and sometimes you just couldn’t catch her in time.There was one infamous occasion when we were settingup my son’s new tent, and as we stood back to admire it, Indie put her jaws around the guide rope and brought the whole thing down!

Indie gets a lot of attention, which she loves, but she doesn’t quite know how to handle herself, and often ends up licking people in the face – she’s especially partial to those with beards. It’s always a challenge trying to keep from scaring away strangers in the park.

Meet Stag and Harper

It’s double trouble for the Vincents after adopting greyhounds Stag and Harper.

Stag and Harper are both ex-racing greyhounds. We adopted Stag when he was three years old, after he had broken his leg on a racetrack and been put into rescue. He is the perfect doting, quiet and gentle boy.

They are the perfect yin and yang and quietly best buddies!

One year after adopting him, we volunteered at his rescue sanctuary, and were asked to foster another three-year-old greyhound for four days over Christmas until her family could collect her. We agreed, but on Boxing Day her new family never showed up. We had her for months and months but no one would adopt her as she had a tiny limp, which was why she got ‘fired’ from racing after coming last in all six of her only races.

Eventually we gave in and adopted her, becoming failed foster parents. Harper had a tough life being moved from sanctuary to sanctuary and being unsuccessful in finding a home. She is the opposite of Stag – utterly bonkers and needy. But despite her background she is never happier than in the company of any and all humans. They are the perfect yin and yang and quietly best buddies! We’d love to take them away for a little break. Both are super well behaved and a joy to be around.


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