Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year – Who Will Be Crowned Winner?
The Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year competition, which is exclusively supported by pet food makers James Wellbeloved, is the nation’s favourite crossbreed competition. The 2017 heats attracted over 1,300 dogs, all hoping to be recognised as the crossbreed with that extra special something. The heats also raised nearly £4,000 for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and each event’s chosen charity. Just six will compete in the exciting final on Saturday 10th March at 5.55pm. This year’s finalists are: Honey and Emma Williamson – Best Crossbreed Rescue Six year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross Honey didn’t have the best start to life when she was found homeless on the streets of London. After being repeatedly rehomed by a number of different families, the rescue centre were worried if she would ever find her forever home. Despite her loving nature, Honey became nervous after being rejected so many times. It wasn’t until Dr Emma Williamson, who is a clinical psychologist working with the homeless in Lambeth, came across the young crossbreed that her luck started to change. Honey was recommended to Emma after she began looking around for a family dog, as well as a dog to help with her work. She wanted to introduce a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog into her team to help put the homeless people at ease with the psychologists and give them the confidence to speak, after seeing it work previously with children and people with head injuries. It was love at first sight when Emma went to visit her at Foal Farm animal rescue centre in Kent in October 2015. After an initial testing period and undergoing the relevant tests, Honey became an official PAT dog last year. Not only is Honey a family dog for Emma, but she helps others on a daily basis with her work with the homeless – proving that if she can find her forever home, so can others. Milo and Charley Henkey – Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog Three year-old rescue Anatolian Shepherd/German Shepherd cross Milo is Charley’s first dog, despite growing up with them in her family. When she first started looking into different breeds, she had her heart set on a Jack Russell. But things soon changed for Charley when she saw a picture of Milo on social media, and it was love at first sight. Milo was rescued from Europe, presumed to be from the streets of Romania, but was brought over to the UK to be re-homed. Milo made a very big impression on Charley, she called the kennels at 9am the following morning and picked him up a couple of weeks later to bring him to his new home in Reading, Berkshire. But Milo wasn’t the happy, healthy puppy that every owner looks for in a dog. He was in a terrible state when Charley picked him up. He was starved and neglected, weighing only 12kg. For two weeks he wouldn’t even leave the house and was continually wetting himself in fear. But after lots of love, medical attention and training, he grew into a happy, healthy dog, who is very much a part of Charley’s family. Jack and Josie Baldwin – Good Citizen Dog Scheme Jack, a Shih Tzu/Maltese cross came into 16 year-old Young Kennel Club (YKC) member Josie Baldwin’s life five years ago. Josie, who has wanted a dog for many years, was finally allowed one so long as she trained him properly. After choosing Jack, Josie began training him at the Happy Hound Puppy and Dog Training club in Kent. Shortly after attending puppy classes she began taking him to Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme (GCDS) classes, where she achieved her bronze, silver and gold awards. She also competes in competitive obedience and agility with Jack. Missy and Anna Drinkwater – Golden Oldie Crossbreed Rescue Bearded Collie cross Missy, was found on a private rescue website by 45 year-old Anna Drinkwater, from Stoke-on-Trent aged 11 months. Anna always preferred to rehome or foster unwanted dogs to give them a second chance at life as she noticed that so many were either put to sleep or had to live out their lives in kennels, which broke her heart. When Anna drove up to Bradford to pick Missy up, she brought her other rescue, Bayley the Border Collie, to make sure that everyone got on. Since meeting nearly 10 years ago Anna and Missy have become inseparable, and when Bayley sadly passed away, Missy became the only dog in Anna’s life. After their Scruffts win, Anna said: “I’m overwhelmed and can’t quite believe it! I love Crufts and to actually be in it is amazing.” Hattie and Hanna Cunningham – Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch One year-old Irish Setter/Welsh Collie cross Hattie found her forever home with 24 year-old Hanna Cunningham from Plymouth, Devon after her and her partner decided it was the right time to get a dog. Hanna grew up with the setter breed in her family, whilst her partner had collies. Once they met Hattie, a cross between their two family breeds, they knew she was the perfect dog for them. The family will be heading to Crufts on Saturday 10th March to see if they have what it takes to become Scruffts Family Crossbreed Dog of the Year. Rufus and Dylan Kirke – Child’s Best Friend 12 year-old Dylan Kirke from Newport, South Wales, always dreamt of having dog of his own, and the summer before he was due to start secondary school, he finally got his wish. His parents wanted him to always have a companion to come home to after school, and decided that a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle cross was the right breed for their lifestyle. Dylan chose Rufus out of the litter and they’ve been best friends ever since. Rufus also never leaves the side of Dylan’s new baby brother Maxen – he is very much a part of the family. This will be the first time the family have been to Crufts. To find out more about Scruffts, please visit http://www.crufts.org.uk/content/whats-on/scruffts/