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Endal on top of the world [21/02/2002]

Two dogs trained to carry out tasks to help disabled people by the charity Canine Partners for Independence were winners at the prestigious National Golden Bone Awards, the Oscars of the dog world, held in Manchester on Saturday 9 February.

Endal, who is partnered with Clanfield resident, Allen Parton, was honoured with a one-off, unique award "Canine Lifetime Achievement Award" for the dedicated and loyal role he has played in supporting Allen throughout their four-year partnership. The award had not been publicised before the event and was a complete surprise to Allen, who was presented with the award by TV personality, Shauna Lowrie. Ms Lowrie also won the "TV Presenter of the Year" award. Endal, a golden Labrador trained by Canine Partners for Independence, has previously been voted 'Dog of the Millennium', received a PRO-Dog of the Year Gold Medal and the Year of Promise 'Human Life Saving' award.

Allen was severely injured in a car crash whilst serving in the Gulf War in 1991 which left him unable to walk and with short-term memory loss. It shattered his confidence, he became introverted and could not see any future. As a result, his relationship with his wife and two children became strained. But when he was partnered with Endal his life changed dramatically and thanks to Endal's constant companionship and skill, Allen is leading an independent and fulfilled life once again.

Endal is able to carry out over one hundred tasks to help Allen with tasks which he finds difficult such as getting laundry out of the washing machine, calling the lift, picking up items in the supermarket, handing over payment at the checkout and he can even fetch help in an emergency.

The "Support Dog of the Year" award was presented to Echo - a cross between a black golden retriever and an Irish water spaniel. Echo is a Canine Partners assistance dog who has been working for Marlborough resident, Enid Burnett since 1998. Enid has multiple sclerosis and often drops things. Reaching lift buttons, light switches and doors handles is very often a problem. Echo helps her to carry out over one hundred tasks like these every day and he has even saved her life twice, once when her wheelchair slid down a bank and again when her house caught fire. Enid and Echo were unable to attend the ceremony but they will be presented with the award at Crufts at the NEC in Birmingham on 7-10 March.

The National Golden Bone Awards 2001 were held at Manchester Airport's Radisson Hotel on Saturday 9th February 2002. On the same weekend as the Manchester championship show and just four weeks before Crufts, this was a wonderful curtain raiser to the greatest dog show in the world. It was an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contribution of many dogs and people at work, at home and in the community.

This fundraising event, organised by Susie Mathis, twice winner of the prestigious Sony Radio Personality of the Year Award, was attended by many celebraties including Anne Widdicombe, Carla Lane, stars from Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale as well as other well known television shows. The monies raised will be distributed through the Pet Role Trust to canine good causes. The event was hosted by TV personality and OUR DOGS Media Director Kevin Horkin and OUR DOGS Managing Director Vince Hogan.

Endal flew to the awards ceremony, where he was nominated for Canine TV Personality of the Year, courtesy of British Airways and filmed during the journey by a BBC documentary crew for the programme 'Airport'. The episode will be broadcast later this year. Endal, as an assistance dog, travelled in the cabin and behaved impeccably throughout, and got covered in lipstick from being kissed by so many cabin attendents!

When PetPlanet.co.uk spoke to Allen a couple of days later, he was still revelling in the complete surprise of Endal's lifetime achievement award: "I don't remember getting

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