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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News

Ayrshire golden retriever goes for gold in national competition

The countdown to Crufts has begun for Ayrshire’s own big-hearted Golden Retriever, Petra, and her proud owner Alan Goodchild.

Eight-year-old Petra, a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, has been named as one of six finalists in a national competition to find the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2015/16.

The winner will be announced during a presentation ceremony at Crufts on Friday 11 March 2016 and kind Petra, who is an excellent listener and lives in Ayr, is going all out to win the prestigious title.

“I am thrilled that Petra has stood out against so many well deserving PAT Dogs. She definitely deserves it and we are both looking forward to going to Crufts and see what happens,” says owner Alan.

“Petra visits three different care homes and it is so rewarding to see residents, who normally struggle to communicate with carers, open up to her. We also visit a school to help children improve their reading, which seems to work wonders and Petra also loves working with disabled people, in particular a wonderful two-year-old girl. The two just chatter and play for ages, I think they forget I’m even in the room!”

Although no-nonsense Petra isn’t letting fame go to her head, she still likes being taken care of too, as Alan explains:

“Petra just loves a good bath, brush and trim, she’s not in it to win best looking dog.”

Pets As Therapy is an independently funded charity with over 5,000 volunteers. Its registered PAT dogs provide animal assisted therapy and bring comfort, smiles and friendship to 1000s of people every week.

Petra and the other five finalists will proudly parade around the show arena as details of their achievements are announced to the audience. The winner will then be revealed and presented with a cheque for £500 plus three months’ supply of HiLife dog food. Each of the runners-up will receive £100 and a months’ supply of HiLife dog food.

Alan added: “Everyone is so excited for Petra and they keep looking out for us on TV. Like us, everyone is just so proud that Petra has been nominated and we hope it inspires more dog owners and dogs to get involved, it’s definitely worth it.”

The competition is sponsored by HiLife, a high quality brand of pet food manufactured by the family-owned Town & Country Petfoods.

Marketing director, Peter Parkinson, said: “Having done this for over 10 years, we cannot express how impressed we are with the fantastic work these dogs do with their owners and although we’re really looking forward to finding our winner, we appreciate that all PAT Dogs are heroes. The work these marvelous dogs do to improve the lives of those in need of comfort is so heartwarming and we never fail to be moved by the stories we hear.”

Cheryl Tissot, CEO of Pets As Therapy, said: “We are exceptionally proud of the 5,000 plus volunteers who deliver such good work throughout their communities as part of Pets As Therapy, and being at Crufts to present this award is a great piece of recognition for our volunteers and their dogs.

“Every week, we’re visiting homes, hospitals, schools and hospices to bring extra cheer to the lives of others, so it’s only right that we should acknowledge that incredible therapeutic activity.”

For more information about Pets As Therapy, visit or call 01844 345 445.


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