Friday, 17 October 2008 12:00 AM
Six champion canine companions from around England and Wales have been crowned regional RSPCA Dogs of the Year* and secured their places in the national final, starting next month (November).
Thousands of people logged onto www.rspca.org.uk/doty during September to vote for their six favourite dogs, after 70 dogs made it through the regional heats held during the summer by RSPCA branches.
All the regional winners are rescue dogs, often with amazing stories to tell. Take Alfie, a prematurely grey-haired Newfoundland who helps his new owner cope with a rare neurological condition which gives her regular debilitating headaches (cluster headaches) - and all this, after being neglected and underfed as a puppy. Alfie will now always be small for his breed, and quite grey despite the fact he is still only three-years-old!
Sally was described as the 'biggest, scrawniest, scraggiest dog' when her kind new owners spotted her at their local RSPCA animal centre! Now, having been rehomed by them, the big, fun-loving crossbreed spends time each week visiting people in need of some special care as the perfect ambassador for 'Pets As Therapy' (PAT).
Lucky** was a stray on an isolated road in Kefalonia, when a caring couple took a wrong turn and spotted her ghost-like figure and sad eyes and came to her rescue!
See more details of all six finalists by logging onto www.rspca.org.uk/doty now.
Commenting on the finalists and their stories of triumph over adversity, RSPCA Dog of the Year organiser Pat Atkinson said: "Like so many of the rescue dogs in the competition, all six finalists have had a tough start in life. But they have all managed to come through it and overcome all the challenges that have been thrown at them, to become loyal, caring companions.
"Over 17,000 dogs are rehomed from the RSPCA each year and Dog of the Year is a chance for rescue dogs, who were once unwanted, to take centre stage with their new owners and show just what fun and loving pets rescue dogs can make."
All six regional winners will now feature in the grand final in the Sunday Express, starting on Sunday 2nd November.
Readers will be able to vote for their favourite by calling/texting a special number that will be published in the newspaper. The dog with the most votes will be announced as the winner on Sunday 16 November.
The winning dog will receive a whole host of prizes including the coveted trophy, a year's free RSPCA pet insurance and a day out in London for a cover shoot for leading dog magazine Dogs Today.
To arrange interviews or photography please contact David Green in the RSPCA Press Office on 0300 123 0207.
Notes to Editors
*RSPCA Dog of the Year is the UK's largest national competition exclusively for rescue dogs, both crossbreeds and pedigrees, of all ages, shapes and sizes.
**Lucky currently has over 300 members on her facebook group. Find out more at www.facebook.com and search 'Vote Lucky for rescue dog of the year'.
Please visit www.rspca.org.uk/doty for more information on the competition and the six regional finalists.
RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 0870 0555500 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: email@example.com Website: www.rspca.org.uk