Battersea Brands Hatch canine hero Bowser up for Friends for Life award at Crufts

An English Bull Terrier rehomed from the Kent centre of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is in line for a national award after saving his owner’s life. Three year old Bowser has been shortlisted for this year’s Crufts dog hero awards in the Friends for Life category, and has become a lifeline to owner Sally Deegan, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Sally and her husband Ciaron, from Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, adopted Bowser from Battersea Brands Hatch in February 2015 after Sally’s second major debilitating relapse. 

Ciaron browsed the Battersea website after watching an episode of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs and that’s when he spotted the brilliant Bowser and decided to make the 376 mile round trip to the rescue centre in Brands Hatch.

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.”

Life at home with Bowser was helping Sally come to terms with MS, but in July, Sally relapsed and fell unconscious. Bowser immediately ran to get Ciaron’s attention and saved 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. 

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For more information and images please contact 020 7627 9332 or email press@battersea.org.uk 

Notes to editors  

  • Battersea Brands Hatch was opened in 1999.
  • The Brands Hatch centre typically cares for around 45 dogs and 30 cats at one time.
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society.  
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats. 
  • In 2016 the Home cared for over 7000 dogs and cats. 
  • A team of over 1000 volunteers help at Battersea’s three centres, in roles including dog and cat socialising, gardening, admin support and giving talks in the community. 
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home rehomes dogs and cats all over the UK. 
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home receives no central government funding towards the care of its dogs and cats and relies on the generosity and support of the public to help care for lost and abandoned dogs & cats. To make a donation visit our website or call 0207 627 7883. 
  • For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit www.battersea.org.uk. 
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or facebook.com/Battersea 

Crufts 2017

  • The Kennel Club is the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners. 
  • The annual Eukanuba Friends for Life competition celebrates the unique relationship people have with their dogs, the important role man’s best friend plays throughout their lives and support they give us in th