A Swinton dog lover admits making the final in the Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Friends for Life competition at Crufts 2016 would be unbelievable after his special pooch was nominated for a spot in the prestigious contest.
Chris Gardner, of Ludlow Avenue, has seen his three-year-old Labrador Jade put forward for the award following the dramatic influence the canine companion has had on the former hospital porter’s life.
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.
Chris was matched with Medical Detection dog Jade nine years after being diagnosed with type one diabetes, and credits her with boosting his and his young family’s confidence.
And such has been the impact on his health, the 32-year-old admits he most likely wouldn’t have survived without Jade by his side.
“I never knew medical alert dogs existed in the UK as I’d only heard of them in America before,” he said.
“I thought I’d have a look online and the first company that came up was Medical Detection Dogs.
“I thought there was no harm in filling in the application form, but I was accepted and a year later I was matched with Jade.
“In the eight months that I’ve had her, she has alerted me just under 1,500 times.
“For the first nine years after my diagnosis I used to be in hospital two or three times a week, and I have had thousands of ambulances called out to me, but since I’ve had Jade, I haven’t had one hospital admission.
“It’s dramatic how much my life has changed since Jade came along – she is so in tune with my blood sugars that they are coming back to near enough normal.
“She is giving me back everything that I used to have, my confidence and my independence.
“If I didn’t have Jade, I don’t think I would be here – I have defied the odds too many times.
“It would mean everything to me if we made the final because I want Jade to get the recognition she deserves.”
Chris and Jade will be hoping to make an appearance at the Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Friends for Life showpiece on Sunday March 13 at Birmingham’s NEC.
Crufts, run by the Kennel Club, is a unique celebration of happy, healthy dogs and will this year be celebrating its 125th anniversary.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “Chris and Jade are thoroughly deserving of this nomination and the Kennel Club wishes them luck in the Eukanuba Friends for Life competition.
“We have been honoured to hear about the hundreds of dogs throughout the UK who are making a profound difference to people’s lives.
“Crufts is the world’s best known dog stage and encourage anybody who thinks that their dog’s loyalty, friendship or bravery has made a difference to their life, or the lives of others, to get in touch.
“Each and every one of the finalists has helped to change and save lives in their own unique and special way.”