Competition winners

Win a dog-friendly family holiday worth £4,500

James Wellbeloved has teamed up with The Times, to bring you this great prize. Enter to win some quality time with your dog

Win a HolidayThe prize includes five VIP nights at the Mount Somerset Hotel & Spa for you and your dog, including breakfast and five three-course dinners, and full use of the spa facilities, pool and grounds.

The winning dog will also receive a 12-month supply of James Wellbeloved hypo-allergenic food and treats.

And it doesn’t stop there – the prize includes a two-year National Trust family membership, which comes with unlimited entry to more than 500 National Trust parks and centres, a selection of Houndworthy accessories and a Billy Wolf dog jacket for when you are out and about with your dog.

Plus 100 runners up will be rewarded with a 1.5-2kg bag of James Wellbeloved food to suit your dog’s specific needs.

For your chance to win, simply visit the competition page here http://www.thetimes.co.uk/static/reconnect-with-nature/win-dog-friendly-family-holiday-worth-4500 . And please do share a picture of your four-legged friend. We would love to see them enjoying their outdoor adventures.

Good luck.

Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year – 2016 Finalist Bios

Bonnie and Grace Mead – Child’s Best Friend

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Twelve year-old Young Kennel Club member Grace Mead first met her dog Bonnie when they travelled up to Yorkshire from the family home in Connah’s Quay in Flintshire to see a litter of Pug/Beagle cross puppies, after she fell in love with the crossbreed type whilst on holiday in Chicago with her family. Bonnie was the runt of the litter and her brothers and sisters were pushing her away. Grace fell in love with her straight away and their connection was instant.

Before she got Bonnie, Grace, who has just started at Connah’s Quay High School, used to get very lonely when her dad used to work over in America for periods as long as five weeks at a time. She really struggled with him being thousands of miles away from the family, but since Bonnie has come into her life, she always has her best friend at her side and is never lonely. Grace began training Bonnie straight away, which gave her not only something else to focus on but also the extra confidence she needed.

After their win on Sunday, Grace said: “I am speechless and overwhelmed beyond my wildest dreams about winning. The way Bonnie has helped me makes me know she deserves to be a finalist. I’m so proud of her to get this far.”

 

 Fleur and Wendy Morris – Best Rescue

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Border Collie cross Fleur was caught by dog catchers in Bucharest in 2014 and thrown into a shelter. She was barbarically spayed and sewn up with string with her intestines left outside of her body on cold pallets. In October 2014, after seeing pictures of Fleur in a terrible state, Val Philips of Valgrays Border Collie Rescue agreed to help and organised for Fleur to be picked up and operated on. Despite a successful operation, it wasn’t until February 2015 that Fleur was able to travel to the UK to be rehomed to Wendy and Andrew Morris in Ropley, Hampshire who were anxiously awaiting her arrival.

Wendy and Andrew, who already have two rescue Collies from Valgrays, had only had Fleur for three weeks when she collapsed one evening. After rushing her to the vets, Wendy was told that her intestines were rotten and that she needed an emergency operation. They removed over 60cms of intestines and re-joined a part of her intestines to her stomach valve. The operation wasn’t as successful as they had hoped and Fleur was at risk of becoming septic; the vet gave her just a 1% chance of survival and suggested she should be put down, which Wendy found hard to accept.

After a tip off from a stranger on social media about a specialist vet at the Royal Veterinary College in Potters Bar, Wendy set up a fundraising Facebook page for Fleur, where over £10,000 was raised in under 24 hours. After a long five hour operation with three vets, Fleur’s operation was a success. She spent 14 days in intensive care then was able to head back to her forever home with a relieved Wendy and Andrew.

After their win at Eukanuba Discover Dogs, proud owner Wendy said: “I feel shocked and amazed! I am very emotional that Fleur has come so far – it is a very proud moment for her. It makes me so thankful of everyone who was involved in giving Fleur a chance in life.”

 

Biscuit and Joshua King – Good Citizen Dog Scheme

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Fourteen year-old Young Kennel Club (YKC) member Joshua King, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, wanted his own dog from a young age, and campaigned to his mum for the family to get one for years. In 2014 she gave in and the family went to go see a litter near to their home which had one crossbreed puppy left. German Shepherd Dog/Border Collie cross Biscuit, the runt of the litter, and Joshua immediately bonded and it was clear to his mother that this was the dog for him. Since taking Biscuit home, the young crossbreed has achieved his bronze, silver and gold Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme awards and has competed with Joshua in many YKC competitions, including YKC Elementary Obedience, in which also they qualified for Crufts 2017 whilst at Eukanuba Discover Dogs.

After their Scruffts win, Joshua said: “It’s been a great experience and I am very happy about going to Crufts.

“Biscuit has changed my life by being my best and closest friend and he has also brought many great opportunities and memories that I wouldn’t have had if he wasn’t with me. I also wouldn’t be at competing in the Scruffts final if I didn’t have Biscuit!”

 

King Tommy and Monique Nerman – Most Handsome Dog

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Monique Nerman is a visual artist who has travelled the world for her profession. She first met King Tommy when he was nine months old and lived outside the house she was staying in in India. After nursing him back to health when he had boiling water thrown over him, they became close friends. When Monique returned to India the following year after some time away she found him chained to a pole and starving to death.

She decided she had to rescue him and he has since lived with her all over the world, including countries such as the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Having never walked on a lead before, King Tommy won his first obedience competition in California as well as competing in agility and rally.

Monique soon realised his connection with humans and he became the first Indian dog to ever pass the American Therapy Dog programme. When the pair moved to the Totnes in Devon permanently in 2015, Monique registered him as a Pets at Therapy (PAT) dog, which he passed, and he also passed the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme silver award.

Since being rescued by Monique, King Tommy has lived in ten countries and is an ambassador for Indian street dogs, encouraging people to adopt dogs and helping to promote a better reputation for street dogs globally.

After their win, proud owner Monique said: “It feels fabulous to have won! It really is Tommy’s time to shine. He has done so much for the community and to encourage people to do activities with their rescue dogs.”

 

Vinny and Sarah Atkins – Golden Oldie

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Vinny was born into the Atkins household in Bedworth, Warwickshire, after the Jack Russell that mother Susan brought for her teenage son, got pregnant by a dog on the local estate. Three puppies were born in 2004 and the family decided it was best if they kept them all. The three puppies, named Vinny, Rambo and Sooty were nicknamed ‘the three amigos’ as they were never without each other.

Sadly, four years ago Rambo and Sooty died within three months of each other from cancer of the spleen, leaving Vinny and the Atkins family in a state of shock. Vinny follows Susan round everywhere, and is always by her side, reminding her to get up every morning. A friend suggested that she entered Vinny in the Golden Oldie Scruffts class whilst they were at the Finnish Lapphund Companion Dog Club show in June, where he proceeded to come first in the heat which lead him and the Atkins to ExCeL London to compete in the semi-final.

The pair will now be heading to the main ring at Crufts next March to compete for the title of Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year.

After their win, Sarah said: “It was a shock to win but we’re very happy and so pleased he won.”

 

Ginny and Judy Rigby – Prettiest Bitch

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When Judy Rigby from  Stockport, Cheshire decided the time was finally right to get a dog, she started the all important research into good breeders around the country and came across a litter of Cavalier/Poodle/Bichon cross puppies in South Wales. She was sent photos of the smallest puppy in the litter, who had yet to be reserved as she did not typically look like her littermates. This didn’t faze Judy, who fell in love with her the moment she saw her. After adjusting to the first few months of their new life together, Judy cannot imagine her life without ten month-old Ginny. Judy, who runs a day nursery in Stockport, brings Ginny into work with her five days a week where she is loved by everyone she comes into contact with.

Ginny and Judy qualified for the Scruffts semi-final at Eukanuba Discover Dogs after coming first in the Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch class at the Manchester Family Fun show at the beginning of October. Judy said that without the encouragment from her eleven year-old goddaughter Charlotte Currie she never would have entered.

After their win, proud owner Judy said: “We’re so delighted! She has such a personality, albeit a naughty one! I really don’t think there is a dog like her, she’s so unusual looking & gets stopped wherever we go. I’m honoured that she’s been chosen to attend Crufts.”