People who use tranformative power of pets to help others could win up to £90,000 of investment – The Sun

PEOPLE who help others using the transformative power of pets are being offered the chance to win up to £90,000 of investment.

Past winners of the BetterwithPets prize include Medical Detection Dogs, which was awarded £12,000 in 2018 to further its work in the early detection of Parkinson’s disease.

The award has helped fund a study which, for the past 18 months, has seen golden retriever Bumper and Peanut, a Labrador cross, sniff samples taken from the necks of Parkinson’s patients and those without the illness to see if the pooches can detect the disease.

A report on the findings is due out this year. Charity founder Claire Guest, 55, said: “The support we have had has been so important and has made this work with helping Parkinson’s patients a reality."

“Whenever you have an idea that’s something a bit different, it’s difficult to get funding, and it takes a special organisation with belief in what you do to make it happen. The work with Parkinson’s is particularly close to my heart as a few years ago my father John was diagnosed with the condition."

“Our trials have shown that dogs can pick up on the odour found in Parkinson’s patients and this means so much because the earlier it is detected, patients can be given treatment, and this hugely improves their quality of life.” Medical Detection Dogs was one of five organisations that shared a £75,000 prize that year.

Money also went to Canine Hope, a UK-based social enterprise in which rescue dogs work with survivors of sexual violence.

Two Dutch enterprises benefitted — one that partners elderly people with dogs to help tackle loneliness another that take dogs into prisons — as did a German project that uses dogs in schools.

This year, there are two categories; one for individuals or organisations that have already started their enterprise and one for innovators aged 18 to 25 at the idea stage.

‘Unique pet-human bond’

Calum Macrae, from pet food firm Purina, which runs BetterwithPets, said: “We’re aiming to reach social entrepreneurs and young creators who are innovating to harness the power of the pet-human bond for the well-being of pets, the people who love them and society as a whole."

“Through the Purina BetterwithPets Prize we celebrate this unique bond and look for new ways of enhancing pet welfare, supporting therapies that improve health and emotional well-being as well as promoting community inclusivity.”

Star of the week

DRESSED as Harry Potter, Keegan the Westie loves cheering up the kids at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Along with his owner Julie Day, 57, from Sheffield, the seven-year-old pooch pitches in to help the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide.

Children and staff can stroke and cuddle Keegan, who was the star guest at a wedding for one of his fans on the hospital ward.

Julie says: “No request is too big or too small.

“As long as Keegan is happy, we are always pleased to help out and put a smile on their faces.”

Find out more about dogs like Keegan at

Pet Vet

LIAM EVANS, 30, from Harrogate, has an 11-month-old Cav-a-Jack who sometimes has bad breath. Vet Sean McCormack is here to help:

Q: I’ve had Jack since he was a puppy and I haven’t really been paying much attention to his teeth. He sometimes gets bad breath what should I do?

A: Eleven months isn’t too late to start a new habit so I recommend brushing his teeth from now. They need brushing every day, just like us. Three times a week is the minimum. Dental chews only help so much. Buy a meat-flavoured dog toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) and start getting your dog used to the sensation of brushing by letting them lick the paste off a finger-tip brush from the pet shop or vets. With plenty of reward-based training, Jack will get used to regular brushing. If we don’t brush, then we need to accept that most dogs will need a few dental procedures in their lives. It’s cheaper and much better to get in the habit of brushing now.

Angelo Jacobs, 44, from Bath has a 12-year-old black cat called Kerrie and wonders if there is anything he can do to improve her quality of life.

Q: I’ve had Kerrie since she was a kitten and she’s lived a wonderful life. Now she’s getting on a bit, what can I do to improve her quality of life?

A: I’d recommend taking Kerry for a geriatric check-up at your vets where they will give her a full MOT and advise how to keep her healthy. Problems in older cats that often go unnoticed and can reduce their life­span include overactive thyroid, ­kidney disease, high blood pressure and dental disease.

But the good news is that most of these issues are very easy to manage if caught early. A dental scale and polish can really make a huge impact to a cat’s enjoyment of life as well as reducing the risk of heart and kidney problems or painful infections down the line.

Kerrie is 12 now, and could potentially live for another ten years! But you need to be proactive and work with your vet team to manage her health.

  • Do you need the Pet Vet’s help? Email [email protected] and you and your pet could feature in The Sun on Sunday.


IF you can’t get enough of your dog’s cute face, our competition is pawfect.Eight lucky readers can each win £30 to spend on the website, which puts photos of pooches on a range of products including cushions and mugs.
To enter, send an email headed YAPPY to [email protected]

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