[ September 13, 2021 by Discover Dogs ]

Discover Dogs – meet the hero dogs behind the campaign

And find out about the everyday differences they, and other four-legged heroes, make to our lives

Dogs have undoubtedly played an unexpected and vital role in helping many owners through this year – as we coped with isolation, various restrictions, challenges, anxieties and stresses resulting from the pandemic. Recognising this difference our canine companions have made for us, our 2021 Discover Dogs campaign is all about celebrating our four-legged heroes and the little things they do that have helped us through a year like no other. 

Featuring Jasmine, the Hungarian Vizsla who helped her nurse owner, Jo, through emergency relocation to support the Nightingale Hospital effort, Afghan Hound Cyrus, who gave his owners a reason to get out in the fresh air during lockdown, Pepper, the Border Collie puppy who checks in on students struggling with the pandemic, and Evie, the Cocker Spaniel, fitness motivator and ray of sunshine – meet the hero dogs and stars of the 2021 Discover Dogs campaign:

 

Jasmine 
Age: 4
Breed: Hungarian Vizsla

Unusual habit: Being best friends the family ginger kitten – spending all day playing hide and seek and then curling up next to each other on the bed!

Jo Mooney, Jasmine’s owner, is a nurse practitioner and found comfort in Jasmine during the Covid-19 outbreak, as she supported with the Nightingale Hospital efforts and relocated to London during the weeks.

“Jasmine definitely helped me and my family through lockdown,” says Jo. “Getting out and about to walk your dog at one time was the only thing you were allowed to do and it just gave a little taste of normality and a breath of fresh air away from it all. Dog walks during lockdown were really therapeutic at a time of such high stress and anxiety. 

“Working in ITU at the Nightingale Hospital, it was humbling to see what they put together in such a short amount of time and the scale of the unfolding emergency situation with the pandemic. I stayed in London during the weekdays and going home and going out with Jasmine really helped to de-stress. Jasmine is really sensitive, she knows when something isn’t quite right and just comes and sits quietly and puts her head on my knee. 

 “Because of Covid, my daughter had to come home from university early too. She was in her final year and doing her dissertation, and it was a really unsettling time with the pandemic and missing her last few months at uni. Jasmine was a really important comfort for her too.”

 

Cyrus

Age: 7
Breed: Afghan Hound
Favourite treat: A peanut butter biscuit!

 

Cyrus and his owner Tracey Gosling come and volunteer at Discover Dogs every year to meet potential owners and help them to get to know the breed. She owns several dogs who all helped to get her and her family to keep a routine during lockdown. 

 

Our dogs kept us going through the pandemic – without them we just wouldn’t have gone out at all”, said Tracey. “Although we couldn’t meet people during lockdown, we could get out for them, but it also helped us through.”

 

Pepper 
Age: 17 months
Breed: Border Collie
Favourite toy: Frisbee
Unusual habit: Blowing bubbles in water 

Pepper helped her owner Paige Jepson through lockdown. Being just a puppy, her training and cuddles were a great distraction from what was going on in the world.

Pepper was also an unsung hero for others – at the college Paige lectures at and her Grandad’s nursing home: “I’m a lecturer and sometimes Pepper comes into college with me,” said Paige. “She always knows if one of the students is having a tough day, she’s really sensitive and will go over and check in. I also take her to see my grandad who lives a nursing home – everyone there loves her and she gets so much attention.”

 

Evie

Age: 3
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Favourite toy: Tennis ball, of course!
Favourite treat: Salmon bites  

 

Evie and her owner Chrissie Pearce do all sorts of activities together – from agility to breed showing, or volunteering at Discover Dogs to help potential owners learn more about the breed.  

During the pandemic and before, Evie was Chrissie’s fitness buddy and helped maintain both her physical and mental strength during lockdown.

“Even though you couldn’t meet people to exercise, we were still exercising together and that benefited both of us,” says Chrissie. “Evie really kept my spirits up too when we couldn’t see others and the pandemic was having a huge impact on life.  

“If you’ve got a dog, it’s a reason to get up in the morning. Their companionship is like no other; dogs are always are there for you, at every moment of the day. I’m a groomer and clients regularly tell me how their dogs have been their lifeline – pandemic or not.”

 

Lockdown lifesavers: What the research says

Away from our campaign cover stars and more widely, research by The Kennel Club shows three in five (61 per cent) owners believe that their dog was a lifeline during lockdown, with an overwhelming 91 per cent agreeing that their dog improves their mental health and wellbeing. With reports of anxiety and loneliness levels unprecedently high during the Covid-19 pandemic, this suggests that dogs were, and continue to be, on ‘the frontline’ of combatting a mental health crisis and our lockdown lifesavers.  

Dogs also have a unique therapeutic value – 61 per cent owners say they find more comfort in their dog than humans and 41 per cent agree their dog doesn’t judge them ‘in the way humans can’. Almost one in three (30 per cent) also feel their dog is there for them when no one else is, showcasing the value of canine companionship when human contact was limited. 

These hero dog stories and wide-ranging figures show the major and positive impact of dogs and we hope you’ll enjoy meeting all the different breeds at this year’s Discover Dogs, which celebrates and showcases the benefits of dog ownership and what a huge difference our unsung four-legged heroes make for us, just by being by our side.

Buy your tickets now for our 2021 event.

[ September 10, 2021 by Discover Dogs ]

Cyrus – Discover Dogs – meet the hero dogs behind the campaign

Dog’s name: Cyrus

Dog’s age: 7

Dog’s breed: Afghan Hound

From: Reading

Dog’s favourite toy: Anything! At the moment a wind up cat toy 

Dog’s favourite treat: Liver or a peanut butter biscuit

 

Do you participate in any canine activities, or have you come to Discover Dogs or Crufts before?

We go to Discover Dogs every year, on the Afghan Hound booth to tell people all about the breed. We also compete at dog shows with Cyrus and his sisters. 

 

Would you say your dog helped you through lockdown? How? 

Our dogs kept us going through the pandemic – without them we just wouldn’t have gone out at all. Although we couldn’t meet people during lockdown, we could get out for them, but it also helped us through. 

[ September 10, 2021 by Discover Dogs ]

Zuri – Discover Dogs – meet the hero dogs behind the campaign

Dog’s name: Zuri

Dog’s age: 2

Dog’s breed: Samoyed

From: Holmfirth, West Yorkshire 

Dog’s favourite toy: Honking duck

Dog’s favourite treat: Chocolate, cheese and fish

 

Do you participate in any canine activities, or have you come to Discover Dogs or Crufts before?

Zuri really enjoys hoopers, agility, dog parkour and obedience. She also does canicross but with less enthusiasm. 

 

Would you say your dog helped you through lockdown? How? 

Zuri is a very sociable dog and loves saying hello to all dogs and people so during lockdown taking her for a walk encouraged us to talk to people, making new friends which helped us all through the trials of the pandemic. Zuri has lots of local dog friends, who can often be seen waiting at our garden gate to see if she’s coming out to play. 

Zuri is very family orientated and provides support for everyone. Her human dad was diagnosed with a heart condition during lockdown and Zuri has been helping him providing cuddles and kisses as well as being gentle and well behaved on walks allowing him to walk her as part of his recovery. 

[ September 10, 2021 by Discover Dogs ]

Millie – Discover Dogs – meet the hero dogs behind the campaign

Dog’s name: Millie

Dog’s age: 3

Dog’s breed: Yorkshire Terrier

From: Scotland, South Ayrshire 

Dog’s favourite toy: Cow’s hooves 

Dog’s favourite treat: Chicken

Dog’s unusual habit: She thinks she’s human! 

 

Do you participate in any canine activities, or have you come to Discover Dogs or Crufts before?

We take part in breed shows and have been to Crufts.

 

Would you say your dog helped you through lockdown? How? 

I appreciated Millie more than ever during lockdown, spending time with her became an outlet. My son is autistic and him and Millie have really bonded – he’s very sensitive around her and she gets him like nobody else does. 

[ September 10, 2021 by Discover Dogs ]

Evie – Discover Dogs – meet the hero dogs behind the campaign

Dog’s name: Evie

Dog’s age: 3

Dog’s breed: Cocker Spaniel

From: Northampton

Dog’s favourite toy: Tennis ball

Dog’s favourite treat: Salmon bites

Dog’s unusual habit: She will find every single piece of kibble if we scatter a handful around! She loves to work – in any situation.

Do you participate in any canine activities, or have you come to Discover Dogs or Crufts before?

We go to Discover Dogs together every year, along with my other Cocker Spaniel Anna, and meet lots of potential owners to chat about the breed. We also participate in breed shows at all levels, with some success, and we’re excited to be attending Crufts 2022. Evie also does agility and she excels at it, she’s so fast. Taking on agility was definitely a bit of a learning curve for us both, you have to teach and work hard too! It’s quite unusual that Evie is a show dog and an agility dog – but she’s so intelligent she does just adapt.

Would you say your dog helped you through lockdown? How? 

My dogs crucially helped me to maintain my fitness (and spirits!) during lockdown. Even though you couldn’t meet people to exercise, we were still exercising together and that benefited both of us. Evie really kept my spirits up too when we couldn’t see others and the pandemic was having a huge impact on life.

Do you think dogs have been a lifeline for lots of owners during the pandemic? Why? 

If you’ve got a dog, it’s a reason to get up in the morning. Their companionship is like no other; dogs are always are there for you, at every moment of the day. I’m a groomer and clients regularly tell me how their dogs have been their lifeline – pandemic or not.