Friends For Life:Buttons & Hannah
Buttons the Shih Tzu and Hannah Gates aged 19 from High Wycombe announced by the Kennel Club today as finalists for the prestigious Crufts dog hero competition, Friends for Life 2018, at the official launch of Crufts 2018.
Hannah and Buttons were chosen from the Man’s Best Friend category. Hannah has owned her Shih Tzu, Buttons since 2013. In the summer of 2014, Hannah was diagnosed with a near fatal case of ulcerative colitis, spending two weeks in a high dependency unit as a result. During the fortnight she was in hospital she had various procedures and scans, multiple blood transfusions, and episodes of seizures and complete unconsciousness.
When she was eventually discharged from hospital, she was welcomed home by the very enthusiastic Buttons. Throughout her recovery, Buttons did not leave her side. For the entire summer holidays she would dote on Hannah, making sure she was comfortable and comforting her at any time she needed her and during those few months they created and developed a bond that is now very poignant in their everyday life. A year after the illness, Hannah had become overweight due to an intense course of steroids, so she decided to get into sport on her doctor's recommendation. Not really a sporty person, she struggled to decide what to do and find any motivation, but with Buttons she discovered dog agility and hasn’t looked back since!
The two of them have now been enjoying agility for nearly three years and have just started competing and are both loving every second. Not only has agility given Hannah many amazing opportunities, it has also helped her gain physical and mental fitness too, helping her condition. Buttons, her regular pet dog, has stepped up to the mark and become a natural assistance dog that was never planned.
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Clare Syvertsen and Griffin aged 29 from Northolt
The annual Friends for Life competition at Crufts celebrates the unique relationship people have with their dogs, the important role man’s best friend plays throughout our lives and the support they give us in the face of adversity.
Judges from the Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, have selected five inspiring finalists to go forward for the public vote, with the winner being announced in the Genting Arena at the Birmingham NEC on the final day of Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show, on Sunday 11th March
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