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Event Review: Dogs Trust Honours Awards 2012

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As far as the canine calendar goes the Dogs Trust Honours Awards is up there, as one of the biggest events of the year and for us first timers it did not disappoint. Set in the grand surroundings of London’s Honourable Artillery Company, we rubbed paws with Very Important Pooches and their celebrity owners, plus more importantly a host of heroic finalists of the two and four-legged kind. 

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For the dogs, the hardworking team at the Dogs Trust had pulled out all the stops with a mini play garden complete with fun tunnel, ball-pit, doggy butlers serving delectable canine canapés and Billy+Margot’s dog ice cream - there was even a canine caricaturist on hand. Their pet parents were also well looked after with a British Tea Party themed cocktail reception enjoyed by stars including John Barrowman, Dawn Porter, Meg Matthews, Funda Onal, Brix-Start Smith, David Van Day, Ben De Lisi, Matthew Wright and Strictly’s Camilla Sacre-Dallerup.

Pawbiz aside, this annual awards ceremony recognises dogs that have performed outstanding acts of bravery, dedication or devotion. Dragons Den’s Deborah Meaden played host and did a sterling job at keeping the impeccably behaved canines and their celeb owners entertained but getting down to what she does best – business – she went on to guide the audience through the inspirational and moving shortlist, which had been selected from over 300 nominations from across the country.

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First up was Dogged Devotion. Presented by Kaye Adams, AJAY was rewarded for his constant companionship and support to the Brown-Griffin family through some incredibly tough times. Ajay originally came to live with them as Tony's (the mother) seizure alert dog and would warn her before she suffered an epileptic fit. Soon after Ajay joined the family they discovered they were expecting a child with a potentially fatal heart condition. Ajay was present during the birth and stayed in hospital with the family, even sleeping by newborn Mimi's cot; he also offered constant support during the little girl's heart reconstruction surgery. After the birth Tony suffered catastrophic bleeds in her eyes and was registered blind. Ajay quickly became her guide dog, without any special training, as well as still fulfilling his previous role. Ajay has now retired due to hip dysplasia but is casting a watchful over Tony's new working dog Hetty.

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A lively Brix Smart-Smith then took to the stage to the fitting soundtrack of Uptown Girl accompanied by one half of her pug duo, Gladys, to present Dog’s Best Friend. The award went to CAROLOS PARREIRA - a 15-year-old schoolboy who gives up his spare time to help improve the quality of dogs’ lives through volunteering, fundraising and fostering at Little Dog Rescue. Carlos has been volunteering at the kennels for the past three years and has taken on caring for several elderly dogs. His commitment to the cause also saw him complete a bike ride from John O'Groats to Lands End for the rescue centre when he was 14. Carlos' dedication to animals is second to none and he gives up most of his spare time to help his four-legged friends.

The ‘Media Mutt’ award was an extra pawbiz injection for an already star-studded night. JOHN BARROWMAN, who works pretty tirelessly to support the charity, happily accepted the award on behalf of his Cocker CHARLIE, who from the looks of the picture up top had other things on his mind! 

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Accompanied by their former Dogs Trust dog Sven, celeb couple Kevin Sacre and Camilla Sacre-Dallerup presented the Hero Pet Dog award, which recognises dogs that perform amazing acts of bravery or courageous feats. Gorgeous little IZZY received the award for saving the life of her diabetic owner's life, David Robinson, not once, but twice! On the first occasion she alerted David's wife Julie that something was wrong in the bathroom. After forcing her way into the room Julie found David unconscious on the floor, thankfully Izzy prevented an unimaginable situation and her instinct saved his life. The hairy hero then went onto show such dedication again when David had a hypoglycaemic attack in his sleep. Izzy is not a trained diabetic alert dog, she has quite simply become a little lifesaver with incredibly loyalty.

And finally Hero Service Dog. Presented by designer Ben De Isli and Dawn Porter, the courageous canine AMAN – a police dog for the Suffolk Police bounded up to the stage to collect the award with his handler PC Steve Jay. Last year Aman displayed true heroics when he was stabbed multiple times by an armed man. The stabbing happened after Aman had been sent into challenge the man in line with his training and whilst holding onto the assailant's arm he received repeated stab wounds to his body, causing serious blood loss. The man also stabbed Aman's handler during the ensuing struggle. Despite both having significant injuries they both continued to assist their colleagues in the eventual restraint and disarming of the subject. Both survived the attack and continue to work together.

The Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 16,000 dogs through its network of 18 Rehoming Centres across the UK never destroying a healthy dog. To keep up with their great work visit the Dogstrust.org.uk.

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