Crufts win for dog who helps its owner live

PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:12 15 March 2018

Friends for Life 2018 winner Vanessa Holbrow and her dog Sir Jack Spratticus with Geri Horner.

Friends for Life 2018 winner Vanessa Holbrow and her dog Sir Jack Spratticus with Geri Horner.


A dog which has helped its owner tackle a series of health issues has won a top prize at this year’s Crufts awards.

Nessa Holbrow, of Berrow, and her four legged friend, Sir Jack Spratticus, scooped the Friends for Life prize, celebrating dogs which change people’s lives in their own unique ways.

Nessa and Jack will receive £5,000 to donate to their chosen charity, Border Terrier Welfare, which rescued Jack in 2012.

The show took place in Birmingham and former Spice Girl Geri Horner presented Nessa and Jack with their award.

Jack and Nessa have fundraised for charity Beat Eating Disorders.Jack and Nessa have fundraised for charity Beat Eating Disorders.

Speaking about the evening, Nessa said: “It is still rather surreal.

“We have both come so far in six years, Jack had very serious issues and people had simply given up on him.

“There were many moments when I wondered whether I was able to turn him around, but I can honestly say Jack has saved my life.”

Nessa was Jack’s fourth different home after his previous owners were unable to deal with his difficult behaviour.

MORE: Woman given new lease of life thanks to dog after she suffered with eating disorders.

Jack could not go on the beach or walk with other dogs, as he would often lash out at them and their owners.

Together, Nessa and Jack have raised awareness and challenged stigmas surrounding mental health issues.

Jack has given Nessa the motivation and confidence to raise thousands of pounds for charities such as Beat Eating Disorders, which helped her overcome anorexia, by going on walkathons and selling hand-made jewellery.

Nessa has suffered with an ‘extensive psychiatric history’ and has also battled with dissociative disorders, depersonalisation and post traumatic stress disorder.

This led to long periods in hospital, but in August last year, Jack was accepted on to the Canine Generated Independence (CGI) training scheme, and he is now nearing the end of his training to be Nessa’s assistance dog.

This means Jack can retrieve Nessa’s medication, and help her snap out of dissociative states.

She said: “I am fiercely proud of the turnaround Jack has made in his behaviour.

“He has been my reason to carry on fighting and he deserves every ounce of recognition for what he has done for me and what he continues to do.”

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