It was champagne and tap water all round when four-legged and two-legged friends rubbed shoulders together (and sniffed derrieres) in celebration of the unique person / dog relationship at the 2010 Dogs Trust Honours on the evening of 3rd June.
Joining the celebrity guests and enjoying the nibbles and kibbles at London's Jasmine Studios were the hirsute winners of five categories, chosen from over 300 entrants from across the UK.
The Honours was launched three years ago by the UK's largest dog welfare charity Dogs Trust to spotlight the countless ways in which dogs enrich our lives while asking very little in return.
Speaking at the awards, Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust CEO, said:
"Dogs are so often the unsung heroes of peoples' lives, and the Honours pays tribute to all those common or garden mutts who make life more joyful. It's a world away from the traditional dog show in fact it's more like a hairy hybrid of The Pride of Britain awards and the Oscars. The Honours shows that canine beauty really is all about the heart; the rest is just so much fur."
And the cream of the country's canine crop are:
The Sun Hero Dog Award
Barney, a fearless fire investigation dog belonging to Kerry Burns, collected this award in a blaze of glory. Barney wears his protective boots in the line of duty when he's sniffing out fire-starting substances, helping the Buckinghamshire Fire Service ascertain whether arson is to blame for each blaze.
The Collie cross's highly trained hooter has sniffed out 286 fire scenes so far, not too shabby for a dog who'd been abandoned as a pup and ended up in a rescue centre before being rehomed by Kerry. Barney is due to retire later this year, when he'll be passing his special boots on to his pal Ember.
The Hero Dog Award is sponsored by The Sun and is voted for by its readers. It's open to all professional dogs working for the armed forces and emergency services.
Pets at Home Dogged Devotion Award
Treacle, a small crossbreed rehomed from Dogs Trust Kenilworth, won this award for her unique bedside manner. She's the constant companion of seven year old Jasmine Dowd, who has to undergo 12 hours of dialysis, as well as tube-feeding, every night at home. Amid the machinery and medicine lies Treacle, her best friend. Jasmine is able to sleep through all of her treatment as long as Treacle is on her bed, providing plenty of fun and cuddles.
Jasmine says, "Treacle is my best friend, and she even tries to get on the school bus with me every morning, even though she knows she's not allowed."
The Dogged Devotion Award is sponsored by Pets At Home and is given to the dog who has provided emotional support for their human through tough times. You've got to take the ruff with the smooth!
Technik Technology Golden Oldie Award
Sadly, this year's winner is a posthumous one, as 15 year old Tim died just two weeks before the Honours. He is sorely missed by owner Lorraine Coultas and all the staff and residents at Meadowlodge in North Yorkshire.
Labrador Tim lived in a residential home where he was a great comfort to the elderly residents, many of whom have Alzheimer's disease or dementia. They couldn't remember Tim's name, calling him over instead by the names of their own, long-since departed, dogs. Tim didn't mind, ambling over for a pat and a fuss no matter what they called him. He also knew when someone was in extra need of attention and used to lay right beside them, sleeping in their room if necessary.
The Golden Oldie Award is sponsored by Technik Technology, and is a lifetime achievement award for dogs over seven years old who may be grey in the muzzle but still give so much to their human friends.
Petplan Dog Star in the Making Award
Ladies and gentlemen, Adora has just left the building! This adorable 10 year old Akita lit up the stage with her debut performance as Sandy in the West End production of Annie. Owner Robert Stuhldreer sent Adora to audition when he spotted an advert in his local paper asking for a sandy coloured dog. Despite having had no prior acting experience Adora impressed the producers and won the role, and once on stage won over the audiences too.
She really took to her new thespian lifestyle, and now employs a talent agent while she awaits her big break. She's not twiddling her claws though, as she also goes into schools with the Blue Cross's youth education scheme teaching children how to behave safely around dogs, and raised money for Akita Rescue - what a star!
The Dog Star in the Making Award is sponsored by Petplan, and celebrates those talented canines who truly shine in the spotlight.
Dogs Trust Celebrity Canine Award
Tilly, a Jack Russell Terrier owned by Over the Rainbow judge and actor John Partridge, won this award for dogs in the public eye.
Notes to editors:
To have jpegs of the winners, and various celebrities, sent or to arrange interviews please call the press mobile on 07768 616 280 (if outside office hours) or:
VNR footage of the 2010 Dogs Trust Honours will be available from 4th June.
Dogs Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity, with 17 rehoming centres across the UK and one in the Republic of Ireland. Last year we cared for over 16,000 stray and abandoned dogs, and we never destroy a healthy dog.
Visit www.dogstrusthonours.co.uk for further information about the event.More Articles by Dogs Trust ...