Photo: Flick.digital

A plucky dog and his lucky owner, who worked through their problems together, have been announced as the worthy winners of Friends for Life at Crufts 2018.

Life changing

Border Terrier Jack had been to three homes before being rescued by Vanessa Holbrow in 2012, when he was 13 months old.

Jack also changed Vanessa’s life, as she was struggling with mental health issues. He gave her much-needed confidence, companionship and stability and is currently being trained as Vanessa’s official assistance dog.

Together they have raised thousands of pounds for mental health charities and Vanessa regularly speaks on local radio and writes articles for Rethink.

“Jack helps to raise awareness of mental health issues and he is my family. I don’t know what I would do without him,” said Vanessa.

‘Love and patience’

Jack was selected from the Breed Rescue category for the Friends for Life competition, which celebrates the close bond between dogs and their owners. He was one of five dogs to make it to the final and the public then voted for the winner.

“I am in absolute disbelief and am so proud of Jack,” said Vanessa. “He had such a bad start in life and it took me a year to train him, but this just shows what love and patience can do.”

Vanessa and Jack were presented with their award by Geri Horner (nee Halliwell), who described them as a ‘beautiful partnership’.

‘Unwavering loyalty’

Vanessa also received a cheque for £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which goes to her nominated charity Border Terrier Welfare, the charity that rescued Jack.

The four other finalists received £1,000 for their chosen dog charity.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “We have had some amazing finalists for this year’s Friends for Life competition, and they all should be extremely proud to have got through to the final five.

“Each finalist has helped to change and improve the quality of their owner’s life, showing unwavering loyalty and they are a great example of the incredible difference that dogs can make to people’s lives.”