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Dog lover nominates her beloved Jack Russell/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross for Crufts award

PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 December 2014

A Sudbury dog lover and her remarkable pooch are hoping for a final spot in the Kennel Clubs Eukanuba Friends for Life competition at Crufts 2015

A Sudbury dog lover and her remarkable pooch are hoping for a final spot in the Kennel Clubs Eukanuba Friends for Life competition at Crufts 2015

A Sudbury 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.

Brooke Smiles pictured with Poppy.Brooke Smiles pictured with Poppy.

Poppy, a one-year-old Jack Russell/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, has been nominated for the gong by her owner Brooke Smiles – who having fractured her spine in January in a riding accident, turned to dog agility training and has not looked back.

The Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Friends for Life 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 17-year-old Brooke admitted that Poppy has given her something positive to focus on, after going through a tough stint in hospital.

“I was very depressed and frustrated that I couldn’t do anything while I was in my back brace, and then I was told that I couldn’t ride anymore,” she said.

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“But my mum let me get a dog for when I recovered enough to do agility and we found Poppy online. As soon as I saw a picture of her I knew that she was the dog for me.

“She’s really been a life saver for me. She has made me so happy and given me a purpose again, as I wasn’t feeling very good about myself.

“I had been riding since I was nine, and had always had horses of my own competing in show-jumping and cross country.

“It certainly feels like when I am training with Poppy all of this happened for a reason, and I can’t wait for her first competition in 2015.

“I think she’s going to be very good, and someday I’d love to compete at Crufts. It would be a dream, and if she won this award it would make me so proud.”

Brooke and Poppy are nigh-on inseparable these days and the pair will be hoping for a trip out for the Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Friends for Life showpiece on March 8 when Chris Amoo, dog lover and 70s pop sensation with the band The Real Thing, hands the trophy to the winner.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokeswoman, 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.

“Brooke and Poppy are thoroughly deserving of this nomination and the Kennel Club wishes them luck in the Friends for Life competition.

“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.

“Each and every one of the finalists has helped to change and save live in their own unique and special way.”

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