When offered the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to take part in the judging of the Kennel Club’s Scruffts contest.

The heats took place at the National Pet Show at the Excel centre on Saturday, May 7-8, with dogs and owners competing for places at the crossbreed championship’s semi-finals.

These will also take place at Excel when it hosts Eukanuba Discover Dogs in October

From there, one crossbreed dog from each class will take a place in the 2017 final in the main arena of Crufts in Birmingham .

For my part in the heats, I joined fellow judge Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi who is health information manager at the Kennel Club (I let her take the lead).

We heard some emotional stories on the day where dogs had been rescued from harrowing circumstances but found new leases of life in their present home and had since come on in leaps and bounds.

Icey, who came second in the Golden Oldie category was rescued from a Romanian shelter after living on the streets, and bought back to the UK for a new life.

However, what touched me almost as much was the number of times owners told us that their dogs had rescued them, and made their lives better.

It was a fantastic event to be a part of and I was delighted to be asked to judge – congratulations to all the very worthy winners and runners-up.

I helped judge three categories on behalf of The Wharf – Best Rescue, Golden Oldie and Most Handsome Dog, sending Coco (with Nicola Hewitt), Buster (with Ali Hayes) and Jethro (with Sonia Humphreys) through to the next round.

They also received goodies from event sponsor James Wellbeloved.

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