Crufts Winner 2016: Pets As Therapy Category
A SIX-year-old Poodle cross was named Pets As Therapy (PAT) Dog of the Year at Crufts.
Bilbo Baggins, who lives in Ashtead, Surrey, with owner Philippa Cadge, was selected by the public from six finalists in a Your Dog magazine vote.
For the last four years, Bilbo and Philippa have been visiting Cherry Trees in East Clandon which provides home-from-home short breaks and respite care for children with a range of disabilities including learning, physical and sensory impairments.
The pair are also regular visitors to the Furze Hill Lodge Care Home in Kingswood.
Bilbo was presented with his winner’s rosette by author and TV presenter Victoria Stilwell.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits to have won,” said Philippa, 76. “Bilbo makes such a difference to the people he sees at Cherry Trees, and at Furze Hill, so it’s wonderful to be acknowledged like this.
“I can’t wait to share the news with the people at Cherry Trees because they nominated him.”
Philippa received a £500 cheque from sponsor HiLife.
Since Pets As Therapy’s launch in 1983, nearly 30,000 dogs have been enrolled into its scheme, with thousands making therapeutic visits to homes, hospitals and schools every week.
The charity always uses Crufts as its platform to award a particularly impressive PAT Dog, with the title – and this year it was Bilbo.
The charity’s chief executive, Cheryl Tissot, said: “Our congratulations go to Philippa and Bilbo on a well-deserved win. We’re 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.
“We also owe our thanks to the wonderful team at HiLife who have passionately supported this award and are keen to acknowledge the time and energy put in by volunteers like Philippa.”
PAT Dogs is keen to hear from anyone interested in becoming involved in the charity’s work. Visit www.petsastherapy.org