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British Dogs
Dog of the Year 2019/20

Meet Pepsi

Jacqui’s life was turned upside down when her husband was diagnosed with COVID-19. But thankfully Pepsi has been there every step of the way.

Pepsi is a 9-month-old female border collie. We knew that she was a great dog, but she really proved that when Walt, my ambulance technician partner, got COVID-19. I'm a community nurse so I looked after him at home for four days. Pepsi sat on the decking below his bedroom window listening to him cough. He was so ill that he was unable to move. She couldn't understand what was happening.

After four days, he really deteriorated and was admitted to a hospital 80 miles away. I was lost. I didn't know if I'd ever see him again alive. I didn't want to get up – the days were too long and scary. However, I knew Pepsi needed me so we sat in the garden and played ball. If I cried after seeing Walt on a videocall she would jump up and cuddle me.

Life is on the up again

Walt began to give up the fight in the hospital. He hated being away from us and he was so ill with the constant cough and fatigue. We sent videos of the dog and encouraged him to stay strong so he could come home to his ‘therapet’ (we always called her that). When he was finally discharged, she rarely left his side and I know he needed her every bit as much as he needed me to nurse him.

Now, Pepsi is his reason to fight the fatigue and get out. She has recently learned to swim, so we go places where Walt can just sit and watch her play.

I know every dog is their owner’s best friend but Pepsi is an ace dog who has really earned her ‘therapet’ nickname. We love her. She loves us. Life is on the up again.

Meet Alfred

Alfred is an empathetic dog and a loyal companion, especially to Julia’s daughter – and his quirks just make him all the more loveable!

Alfred is a Weimararner. He gets really anxious if he is left alone and is a very much-loved part of our family. We have a daughter with autism and Alf is her companion and helper, who always seems to sense and know when he needs to be with her and when she needs him. He is also my husband’s personal trainer, getting him outdoors and exercising.

Alf has some strange habits

Alf has some strange habits – he likes to sleep across the arms of two sofas, or if he’s on the sofa then he sleeps with all four legs in the air! He loves the freedom to run around the Dorset meadows at the end of the lane that we live on and is a happy chap with our two cats and always greets them by licking them.

He is such a handsome boy that people always comment on him when he is out and about. He is playful and has a box of toys, his favourite being Gilbert the sloth! He has a favourite kennel, which is in Turnpike in Motcombe Dorset and all the kennel workers love him! He like to ride in my car in the front seat, especially in the Summer with the top down and the wind blowing in his ears!


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 Denzil

Paula didn’t give up on Denzil, and because of that he found the strength to survive. Now he’s helping other dogs do the same.

Denzil is a Morkie and we bought him from a registered kennel in Wales. His story is very special as he is the only dog to survive severe GME (Meningitis). He has had a research paper done on him by Liverpool University, veterinary hospital.

Problems started just after his first booster at our vets. We thought he was just having a reaction to his injections, then a few days after finishing his medication, he collapsed in our garden! We took him to our vet straight away and luckily one of the vets was from Germany and said that she thought it could be meningitis. They referred us to Liverpool university Wraith animal hospital.

His story is very special

What ensued was 18 months of IV treatment, 32 tablets a day and five 10-hour chemotherapy sessions. I researched the best foods to give him, and I also used aromatherapy massage to help ease the muscles in his spine and he started to respond. Finally, at nearly 3 years old he was given the all clear! Denzil now has his own Facebook page to raise awareness of this terrible disease and to encourage vets to refer immediately.

Meet Misto

Tessa didn’t adopt Misto in the conventional way – but the pair were meant to find each other, and Misto has helped Tessa to live the dolce vita ever since.

Misto is such a special dog, and he appeared in my life when I was really struggling. My mum had died a few months before and my daughter had moved out, leaving me quite lonely and down.

I went on holiday to Sicily with my niece, staying in a remote spot and one day Misto just appeared! He took a shine to me (and me to him!) and would fine me every day, curling up beside me wherever I was. It felt like my mum had sent him to me, and so we named him Misto in her memory - her favourite greyhound was a brindle called misty, so we ‘italianised’ the name to Misto - which is fitting, as in Italian it means ‘mixed’!

In Italian it means mixed

When I asked hotel staff about him they said he was just a stray - they’d had quite a few pups and various Italian visitors had adopted them but he was the last one.  I asked about the possibility of me adopting him, and they put me in contact with an Italian woman who takes in strays and finds homes for them - not usually as far away as England though

Communicating largely through google translate, we arranged for her to take him in.  she kept him for about six weeks, got all his jabs, pet passport and arranged his flight over, and he finally arrived at Heathrow in December 2016.

He brings unimaginable joy to my life. I live by the sea and we both love walks and runs on the beach - which is where the photo was taken.

Meet Bibi

Bibi has a hard start in life, but that doesn’t stop her being a ray of sunshine for owner Lisa.

My husband was on Facebook when he came across a post that had been shared about rescue dogs. We saw a picture of Bibi who was found under a bush with seven puppies.

Some kind lady brought her to a shelter in Bulgaria where Bibi nearly died as she was so weak from looking after her puppies. I messaged them to find out if she had found her forever home, which she hadn’t, and then that was it – she was coming to the UK to be loved and cared for with us and our other dog Gunner.

Bibi was like she had been sent from an angel above

Unfortunately we lost Gunner to leukaemia over two years ago but having Bibi was like she had been sent from an angel above! She is absolutely beautiful. She has the most loving personality and has helped me so much with losing my other dog. She loves cuddles and wants to stroked all the time. She is so happy and is amazing considering what she went through.

Only a couple of weeks ago we rescued another gorgeous dog from Bulgaria where we got Bibi from to give her a play friend, which she loves. He was found chained by a wire around his neck and his fur was so long he was unrecognisable. He is now safe with us and Bibi has a play mate!


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