There were emotional scenes at the Crufts dog show today (Sunday) when a devoted Burnham-On-Sea dog owner and her very special pet won a coveted top award.

Vanessa Holbrow – known to many in Burnham as Ness – and her re-homed Border Terrier, called Sir Jack Spratticus, won the Crufts 2018 Friends for Life award, which shines a light on rescue dogs who play a leading role in helping people battle adversity.

Pop star and former ‘Spice Girl’ Geri Horner announced Sir Jack as the winner, leading to emotional scenes as Ness tearfully accepted the award.

The dog is credited with saving Ness’ life after helping her overcome various mental health problems.

Sir Jack was crowned the proud winner after attracting the most votes in a public poll across the UK that attracted over 22,000 votes in total.

Ness thanked all those who supported her and Jack, saying it means a “tremendous amount to her.”

Ness, as winner, receives £5,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for the dog charity of their choice, and other finalists have also received £1,000 towards their own canine charities.

Ness told “Jack has been a Godsend for me and has had a huge impact on my life.”

Sir Jack helped her recover from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), Dissociative Disorders (DD) and an eating disorder.

Speaking before Sunday’s win, she added: “Jack deserves to be at Crufts – his journey from a rescue dog is extraordinary. I rehomed him at 13 months and I was his fourth home. He was a considerable challenge initially because of his agressive behaviour.”

“We spent many weeks in dog training classes and we even had to go in a broom cupboard initially during lessons because of Jack’s terrible behaviour. He had a lot to learn.”

“Since then, he’s become a wonderful pet and an incredibly special loving companion for me.”

“He’s had to cope with long breaks away from me while I have been in hospital, but he has been there to help me recover. He’s taught me what love is.”

“He’s such a wonderully friendly dog who’s loved by a lot of people in Burnham-On-Sea.”

“We found Canine Generated Independence last year and he’s now training to be my assistance dog.”

Jack is among five rescue dogs who were up for the Crufts’ 2018 Friends for Life award, which shines a light on VIP dogs who play a leading role in helping people battle adversity.

Selected from over 300 applicants by judges from The Kennel Club, each of the finalists was chosen from five distinct categories before being entered for an all-important public vote to name the top dog at an awards ceremony.

Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said: “Friends For Life is an opportunity to celebrate these dogs that quietly go about changing people’s lives in their own unique and special way.”

Pictured: The emotional scenes at the show in Birmingham on Sunday (photos: Crufts / Kennel Club)

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