HiLife PAT Dog of the Year named

Pet as therapy (PAT) dog Scrabble has been named as the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2012/13.

Scrabble, a Leonberger from North Yorkshire, has been recognised for his hard work over the past three years, during which time he has made an incredible 300 visits. Together with his owner Ann Burrell, Scrabble regularly visits a local hospice, three care homes, and a rehabilitation centre.

Additionally, Scrabble has also worked with twins with a phobia of dogs. The mother of the twins said: “The twins would not leave the house for fear of meeting a dog or cat. In the first hour of meeting Scrabble my son was stroking him, my daughter, a little more cautious, took a few sessions, but by the end they were both stroking him. If it hadn’t been for Ann and Scrabble we would not be the family we are now. We want to say thank you for everything Ann and Scrabble have done for our family.”

Olive, a resident of Larchfield Manor Care Home, said: “To receive a visit from Scrabble is so uplifting. The minute he enters the room every face bursts into a smile. He brings happiness to everyone.”

Ann Burrell said of her dog: “He epitomises all that pets as therapy stands for; he gives unconditional love to everyone he meets.”

Scrabble was voted HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2012/13 by a celebrity panel that included Pam St Clement; Roy Barraclough; and James Martin.

For winning, Scrabble and his owner were awarded a cheque for £500, a three-month supply of HiLife dog food and a specially engraved piece of crystal.

“PAT dog Scrabble and his owner Ann Burrell are a hard-working and caring team and I’m delighted to be able to award them both with this highly celebrated prize. It takes time and commitment to become a pets as therapy volunteer and all the finalists have shown great dedication and empathy in the valued service they provide their local communities. Their work really does change people’s lives and all of us at HiLife are extremely proud to be playing our part in celebrating and supporting such a worthy cause,” said MD of Town & Country Petfoods Tony Parkinson.

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