Friends for Life Finalists: Crufts 2014 Dog Heroes Revealed

A dog that can detect a potentially fatal drop in a young boy’s blood sugar levels; a Lance Corporal’s dog who helped him live a normal life again after he was blinded during training and a Cocker Spaniel who helps give a wheelchair bound young lady with a rare genetic disease much needed confidence, are amongst the five finalists for the Crufts Friends for Life competition 2014.

The annual Crufts Friends for Life competition, run by the Kennel Club, celebrates uplifting stories of friendship in adversity and the five dogs which have made the 2014 shortlist were selected for their exceptional loyalty to their owners and for the way that they have changed their lives.

Crufts Friends for Life finalists group shot

Voting lines are now open and the dog that goes on to receive the most public votes will win the competition, which will be announced at the Birmingham NEC, on the final night of Crufts, Sunday 9th March.

The finalists for 2014 are:

Cocker Spaniel, Molls and eleven year old Steven Courtney from Bicester, Oxfordshire – Molls alerts to hypo’s and hyperglycaemia (dangerously low and high blood sugar levels), during the day and night, helping to keep Steven safe and enabling him to live his life to the full, allowing much more control over his aggressive unpredictable diabetes and giving him and his family a better quality of life.

Cocker Spaniel, Molly and Lucy Watts from Benfleet, Essex – Lucy has a life-limiting rare genetic condition that has left her in a wheelchair, needing to be fed into her bloodstream and in a lot of pain. She was withdrawn and unhappy but Molly has taken the focus of strangers away from her condition and given Lucy confidence to live the remainder of her life, in a way she couldn’t have dreamt of before.

Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, Radley and Konrad Galen-Bisping, from Carmarthenshire – Guide dog Radley gave the former Lance Corporal his confidence and independence back after his was blinded in an attack during training

Labrador, Velvet and Lottie Wilcocks from Ripponden, West Yorkshire – Assistance dog, Velvet, helps her 12 year old owner, who has spina bifida and hydrocephalus with all her day-to-day tasks. Despite not being able to walk or feel sensation below her mid-thigh Paralympic athlete, Lottie, has been given the confidence to live life to the full thanks to Velvet.

Mastiff/Great Dane cross, Jessie and Julie Barrett from Beer, Devon – In a mutual rescue, Julie took Jessie in after she had endured a life of horrific abuse and neglect. Jessie in turn bought Julie, who suffers with diabetes and ME and who was struggling to cope with the loss of her dad, back from the brink of despair.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The dogs that have made the final of the Crufts Friends for Life competition are all truly inspirational and demonstrate just how important dogs are to our lives and what a difference they make to us, both in our best times and when things are tough.

“People can vote for the story that touches them the most and the winner will be announced on the final night of Crufts. Of course, each and every one of the dogs has helped to change and save their owner’s life in their own unique and special way.”

The winner of the Friends for Life competition will receive £1,500 and the other finalists will receive £750, all for their chosen charities. These will be: Steven and Molls, Medical Detection Dogs; Lucy and Molly, A.I.D for Dogs; Konrad and Radley, Guide Dogs and Special Care Baby Unit at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen; Lottie and Velvet, Dogs for the Disabled and Julie and Jessie, Dogs 4 Adoption.

People can vote for their ultimate ‘Friend for Life’ by using the numbers below:

Steven and Molls 0844 646 0201

Lucy and Molly 0844 646 0202

Konrad and Radley 0844 646 0203

Lottie and Velvet 0844 646 0204

Julie and Jessie 0844 646 0205

Calls cost 5p from a BT land line. Calls from other networks may vary and from mobiles will cost considerably more. Voting closes at 7.30pm on Sunday 9th March 2014. Details and terms here.

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