Meet the Crufts Hero Dog Awards Finalists

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The Kennel Club, in collaboration with Paralympian Libby Clegg, has unveiled the finalists for the Kennel Club Hero Dog Award at Crufts 2024. With public voting officially open, the four remarkable dogs are in the running to be crowned the UK’s most heroic canine.

The four finalists have been shortlisted for their roles in supporting and enriching the lives of their owners and communities. The categories and finalists are as follows:

Hero Support Dog – Phoebe and Jazz
Jazz Turner, a 25-year-old Team GB para sailor, relies on the assistance of Phoebe, a Golden Retriever, to navigate her daily life. Diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Jazz depends on Phoebe to alert her to fainting episodes and seizures, providing independence and support.

Child’s Champion – Hearing Dog Gordon and Elyana
Twelve-year-old Elyana Kuhlemeier, facing profound deafness, found solace and support in Gordon, her hearing dog. Gordon not only alerts Elyana to sounds, ensuring her safety, but also provides companionship, routine, and confidence, transforming her life.

Extraordinary Life of a Working Dog – Search & Rescue Dog Vesper and Niamh
Vesper, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, initially deemed unsuitable as a police dog, has excelled as a Search & Rescue dog. Partnered with handler Niamh Darcy, Vesper played a crucial role in international disaster relief efforts, showcasing her dedication and life-saving abilities.

Best Friends – Echo and Freya
Echo, an Australian Shepherd, and Freya Harris, an eight-year-old cancer survivor, share a unique bond. Echo not only encouraged Freya to embrace outdoor activities but also became her companion and support during challenging times, fulfilling Freya’s dream of participating in Crufts.

The public vote, now open, will determine the winner, who will be announced by award ambassador Libby Clegg on the final day of Crufts, March 10, 2024. The winner will receive a £5,000 donation from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust for their chosen dog charity, while each finalist will receive a £1,000 donation for their selected canine charity.

In addition to the finalists, the award pays tribute to ‘Rescue Dog Hero 2024’ Balto, a heroic Husky who, despite a challenging start, transformed into a therapy dog, offering support to various communities and fundraising for charities. Balto will be posthumously recognised for his exceptional contributions.

The public can watch individual videos featuring the finalists’ stories and cast their votes for the Hero Dog 2024 until 4 pm on Sunday, March 10, by visiting crufts.org.uk/herodogaward.

Image by the Kennel Club.

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