A Dunstable dog lover and her remarkable pooch are hoping for a final spot in the Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Friends For Life competition at Crufts 2015 after receiving a prestigious nomination.
Kibble, a two-year-old black Labrador, has been nominated for the gong by the Canine Partners charity who provided the specially trained mutt to Shelley Fitzsimmons, of Canesworde Road, last January.
The Kennel Club competition celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have truly earned the title of man’s best friend, through bravery, support or companionship.
And 41-year-old owner Shelley, who inherited the rare Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome at birth, which affects all her muscles, ligaments and joints, causing frequent dislocations – admitted that without Kibble her story would be a very different one.
“To say life is better again is an understatement,” she said.
“Life now is fantastic! Yes I still can’t walk properly, teach dancing or go to work, and I take numerous tablets and wear pain relieving patches but who cares? I have the amazing Kibble and my family, so I don’t need anything else.
“I’m independent again. Since the day Kibble and I arrived home together we go everywhere, nowhere is out of bounds and we don’t have to wait for anyone – we are invincible. My general health is much better, I don’t have to top up my pain relief half as much and best of all Kibble has allowed everyone to relax knowing I’m safe and cared for 24/7. It’s much better than having a human carer. I cannot imagine life without Kibble. I love him so much and it is obvious to all that know us that the feeling is mutual.”
Kibble has been trained to assist Shelley in all aspects of her life, including helping her around the house, picking up anything she may drop, retrieving items off shelves while shopping, and he even knows to press the alarm button on the phone if Shelley ever gets into trouble.
And the pair will be hoping for a trip out for the Kennel Club’s showpiece on March 8 when Chris Amoo, dog lover and 1970s pop sensation with the band The Real Thing, hands to trophy to the winner.
Caroline Kisko, of the Kennel Club, said: “People have sent us such moving and inspirational stories that truly demonstrate how important dogs are to our lives and what a difference they make to us, both in our best times and when things are tough.
“Shelley and Kibble are thoroughly deserving of this nomination. Of course, every dog that has been entered is a Friend For Life in the eyes of their owner and help to remind us what it is that makes the relationship between dog and man so very special.”