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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

March 29, 2011

Gundog Triumphs

By David Alderton

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Jim Irvine and Jet triumphed to take the Best-in-Show award at the 120th Crufts dog show.
Jim Irvine and Jet after-their Crufts triumph.
Photo: onEdition
A Flatcoated Retriever, known to his Scottish breeder as Jet, triumphed to take the Best-in-Show award at the 120th Crufts dog show, held recently at The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. SH CH Vbos The Kentuckian, as Jet is formally known in show circles, was one of the oldest winners of the ultimate prize, being 9.5 years old.

There was a strong overseas contingent represented at the show among the 21,422 participating dogs, but this year there was a British winner.

Jet’s thrilled owner, Iain Ross said “I am over the moon, I can’t believe it. It’s a lifetime achievement, it’s wonderful.”

What made the award even more special was that Jet was handled in the ring by Jim Irvine, his breeder who lives in Edinburgh. The last time a Flatcoated Retriever was judged Best-in-Show was back in 1980.

The runner-up award, for the Reserve Best-in-Show, went to a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeén, a French breed that has become much more popular in the U.K. in recent years, although it has never won the top award at Crufts.

The show was a tremendous success, attracting of approximately 138,000 visitors over a period of four days.

Canine Heroes

The crowning of the Best-in-Show winner was preceded by the presentation of the Kennel Club’s “Friends for Life” award, which recognizes the U.K.’s dog heroes. Five remarkable dogs were nominated for the Friends for Life Award and visitors to Crufts voted for the dog and owner they thought were the most deserving pair.

Joanne Day and her Golden Retriever/Poodle cross called Kaiser, who is a Canine Partners assistance dog.
Joanne-Day-and-Kaiser.
Photo: onEdition
The award went to Joanne Day and her Golden Retriever/Poodle cross called Kaiser, who is a Canine Partners assistance dog. Kaiser cares for Joanne who is living with a rare condition called dystonia. This neurological disorder causes muscle spasms and leaves her body contorted and fixed into abnormal positions.

Joanne has been helped by Kaiser to maintain her independence. He has also given her the confidence to leave the house and meet new people. Kaiser also helps with everyday tasks--such as dressing, unloading the washing machine and picking things up--that Joanne otherwise finds difficult to do by herself. He gives her the love, strength and courage to face more painful surgery, and is the only thing that gets her through it all.

Speaking about her win, Joanne said “Kaiser really deserves it; he’s one in a million. I had never had a dog before in my life and I can’t put into words what he has done for me.”

This award, presented annually by the Kennel Club, follows five heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have truly earned the title of man’s best friend through bravery, support or companionship. All the dogs show unfailing loyalty and spirit in their constant desire to help and are a great example of the incredible difference that dogs can make to people’s lives.

Next Up: The Other Four “Friends for Life” nominees.

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