Crowborough’s Marnee is top dog at therapy

L-R: Victoria Stilwell, celebrity dog trainer and judge; Tony Parkinson, managing director of HiLife producer Town & Country Petfoods; owner Noel Austin with Marnee, HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2014/15
L-R: Victoria Stilwell, celebrity dog trainer and judge; Tony Parkinson, managing director of HiLife producer Town & Country Petfoods; owner Noel Austin with Marnee, HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2014/15
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Kindhearted golden retriever Marnee and her proud owner Noel Austin, of Crowborough, have been crowned winners at the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts.

Eleven-year-old Marnee is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog and was named as the winner of a national competition to find the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2014/15, pipping five other finalists to scoop the prestigious title on Friday.

Noel said: “I couldn’t believe it when the announcer called Marnee’s name.

“I was thrilled to be notified of her nomination and presented with the opportunity for her take a turn in the spotlight at Crufts.

“For Marnee to be announced as the overall winner is absolutely unbelievable, we’re both delighted.

“Marnee is a special dog and she deserves special praise.

“She’s been a PAT dog since she was just nine months old.

“Despite only being a young puppy, she took to her role immediately and has since spent more than a decade making people happy.

“It’s nice for Marnee’s efforts to be recognised but I think all PAT dogs are winners. We’ve certainly enjoyed our big day together.”

Noel and Marnee are part of a friendly team of dogs and owners who regularly volunteer their time, providing therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes and special needs schools.

The golden retriever has worked with a variety of people including patients undergoing stroke rehabilitation, a dog phobic girl, people with mental and physical disabilities, patients with hospital phobia, autistic children and those with severe dementia.

Noel and Marnee were presented with a cheque for £500 and three months’ supply of HiLife dog food, a high quality brand of pet food manufactured by Town & Country Petfoods, which sponsored the PAT Dog of the Year competition.

Visit www.petsastherapy.org or call 01844 345 445.