(Kennel Club Press Release) Molly, a Cocker Spaniel from Benfleet in Essex, and her owner, Lucy Watts were the special stars of Crufts as Molly was announced as the winner of the Crufts Friends for Life 2014 competition.
Molly and twenty year old Lucy were voted the most deserving winners out of five shortlisted finalists by the British public. Lucy has a life-limiting rare genetic illness called ehlers danlos syndrome, that has left her in a wheelchair, needing to be fed into her bloodstream and in a lot of pain.
Lucy was isolated, withdrawn and unhappy but Molly has given her independence again and taken the focus of strangers away from her condition, giving her the confidence to live the remainder of her life, in a way she couldn’t have dreamt of before.
Now, instead of being shy and withdrawn she will take Molly to agility training and she has even spoken in parliament. And when she can’t get out of bed for days, or even weeks, Molly never judges and can always make Lucy smile.
The proud winners were announced by Chris Amoo of band The Real Thing fame, in the NEC Arena at Crufts. The presentation was broadcast live on Channel 4. They were also given a cheque for £1,500 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for their chosen charity A.I.D for Dogs.
Speaking about their win, Lucy said: “This is just fantastic. It is just wonderful what Molly has done for me. She has given me a purpose, a reason to live, a reason to keep fighting and a reason to carry on.”
She continued: “Molly has not only given me confidence but also independence to live what remains of my life in a way I couldn’t have imagined before. For the first time in six years, I went out on my own and took her for a walk. It was such a liberating experience.
“Being in a wheelchair can be an isolating experience; people don’t know how to talk to you so often they don’t include you. I found that really hard but when Molly came into my life it was like my wheelchair didn’t exist, people started talking to me and including me.
“Suddenly I was a part of society. Molly did that. She broke down the barrier between the able and disabled for me. I now feel included, wanted and important and the bond between us is unbreakable.”
Friends for Life is a competition which celebrates dogs that have truly earned the title of man’s best friend through bravery, support or companionship.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “We congratulate Lucy and Molly on winning this year’s award; their story is incredibly moving and highlights what wonderfully loyal and great companions our four legged friends can be.
“Each and every one of the dogs in the final has helped to change and improve the quality of their owner’s life, showing unwavering loyalty to their owners and are a great example of the incredible difference that dogs can make to people’s lives.”