English Bull Terrier Bowser who was rehomed by the Kent centre of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has been nominated for a Friends for Life award at Crufts 2017. Bowser is three years old and was adopted by Sally Deegan who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis; since his adoption, he has proved to be a lifeline to Sally.
After Sally’s second major debilitating relapse, she and her husband, Ciaron, who live in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, decided to get a dog. Ciaron consulted the Battersea website, inspired to do so by an episode of the TV show Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs. On the website, he saw Bowser at the Brands Hatch rescue centre, and decided to visit him – despite the fact the doing so involved a 376 mile round trip.
Sally explains: “As soon as we met Bowser, it was love at first sight – from both sides! We loved his big character and his personality just shone through. He just felt right for us.”
Initially, Bowser settled into the household, and his presence helped Sally come to terms with living with MS. However, in July 2016, Sally had a relapse and fell unconscious. Bowser jumped into action, running to attract Ciaron’s attention, thereby saving Sally’s life.
Sally continued: “He’s so calm and steady and alerts me by licking my hands and arms, then sits by my feet. I didn’t know what he was doing at first but I’ve realised he’s alerting me by easing the discomfort as it dampens the nerve pain. He wasn’t taught to do that and he’s had no training in detecting medical issues, he just does it, which makes him even more special.
“He continues to protect, support and save me – every day. He’s my hero.”
Anna Hemmings, Centre Manager at Battersea Brands Hatch, commented: “Everyone at Battersea is getting behind our Bowser and Sally. Bowser is even more incredible because he’s a rescue dog who hasn’t had any medical or assistance training in the past. We wish them the best of luck!”
The winner of the award will be decided by a public vote at www.crufts.org.uk/content/eukanuba-friends-for-life. Voting will close midday on Sunday 12 March and the winner will be announced live at Crufts on the same day.