PC Phil Healy and hero dog Mojo. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

By Ann Evans.

 

Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall

 

Best in Show at Crufts is the highlight of four days of showing, displays, demonstrations, shopping and simply enjoying all things canine – and there was plenty going on as Ann Evans reports.

RAF Police dog scales a 7ft wall with easy. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

Crufts Best in Show came close to being sabotaged on the final evening of the 4-day event when two protesters dashed into the arena. They were swiftly dealt with by security and booed by the audience who up till then were all enjoying a fabulous evening of entertainment before the final Best in Show judging.

 

One of the major events on the Sunday evening in the Genting Arena was the Friends for Life competition. This annual event was a celebration of dogs who have changed people’s lives in their own unique ways.

Richard Curtis acts the clown. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

More than 300 people entered their dogs into the competition and the five finalists in the 2018 Crufts Hero Dog Awards were welcomed into the arena. Their stories were re-told over the large screens before the announcement of who the public had voted for as the overall winner.

 

The award went to Vanessa Holbrow and her rescue dog Sir Jack Spratticus. Jack who had also had a very bad start in life, had changed Vanessa’s life by helping her deal with complex mental health illnesses. They won £5,000 to donate to their chosen charity, Border Terrier Welfare which rescued Jack in 2012. The prize was presented by former Spice Girl Geri Horner.

Crufts Best in Show 2018 lineup. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

Read all the finalist’s stories here: http://b-c-ing-u.com/2018/03/05/hero-dog-awards/

 

A very special award was presented to PC Phil Healy and his police dog, Mojo. They were awarded the Crufts Humanitarian Action of the Year Award. PC Healy and Mojo were first on the scene at the terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017 when 22 people lost their lives.

 

PC Healy and Mojo had to work around the deceased and seriously injured checking for other unexploded devices and making the area safe for emergency services and the public. They were later joined by other dogs and continued working tirelessly in horrendous and traumatic conditions throughout the night, clearing the area until 7am. On their way home they responded to another call to investigate another suspicious device. Chief Constable Rod Hansen, head of the police dogs in England made the presentation to these true heroes.

Mary Ray and Richard Curtis. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

There was a very entertaining demonstration of agility, obedience and special training by the RAF Police Military Working Dog Display Team. The dogs showed off some excellent skills as they were put through their paces, including scaling a vertical seven-foot wall.

 

Everyone’s favourite event is Mary Ray and her amazing Heelwork to Music displays. Mary has put on show-stopping performances at Crufts for the last 25 years and this year was Mary’s final Crufts. She performed a fantastic routine with her dogs Lyric and Frankie, and was joined by obedience and heelwork to music expert, Richard Curtis. There were clips shown on the big screen of Mary’s past routines, and at the end of her final performance she was joined by her husband Dave and sister Pauline for a final farewell.

Mary Ray’s final wave goodbye to Crufts. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

Finally came the highlight of the show – the judging of Best in Show. Around 21,000 dogs had been judged over the four days and the top dogs from each of the seven groups came into the arena to great applause. The judge was Jill Peak, and breaking tradition, the winner and runner-up were announced in reverse order.

As everyone waited with baited breath to see who Ms Peak would select, the Gundog pointer champion Kanix Chilli was announced as the reserve Best in Show – and then Tease, a Whippet from Edinburgh owned by Yvette Short was announced as the Best in Show to rapturous applause.

Quick action by security at Crufts. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall

However, Tease had only just set foot on the podium when the protesters tried to disrupt proceedings. Ms Short moved to keep her dog safe, while a Kennel Club official ensured the protestor didn’t get their hands on the coveted trophy. The chaos was over in seconds, and the protestors were led away, leaving Tease and Kanix Chilli to enjoy the limelight they so rightly deserved.

Next time, look out for our gallery of gorgeous dogs who didn’t quite make it to Best in Show.

RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team. Photo courtesy of Rob Tysall