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Rocco The Dog Prepares For Prestigious National Award

Added on: 10th March, 2017 by Damian_31447

Rocco The Dog Prepares For Prestigious National Award

Rocco and his owner Hilary Farndon photographed by Simon Hadley/UNP courtesy of

Last Updated:
Fri, 10 March 2017

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The Crufts countdown has begun, and for Rocco, a Chocolate Labrador from Rugby, and his owner Hilary Farndon, it couldn’t be a more exciting time.

Rocco, a Pets As Therapy (PAT) Dog, has been shortlisted as one of six finalists in a national competition to find the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year 2017.

Pets As Therapy is an independently funded charity with thousands of volunteers. Its registered PAT Dogs provide animal assisted therapy and bring comfort, smiles and friendship to the people they meet.

The winner of the HiLife PAT Dog of the year, will be revealed at Crufts during a presentation ceremony at 11:25am on Friday 10 March at the NEC in Birmingham, and Rocco has his paws crossed he will win the prestigious title.

Rocco visits a care home for disabled adults fortnightly and every week he goes to a primary school as part of the Pets As Therapy Read2Dogs scheme, where the children read out loud to him to improve their confidence and literacy skills. He visits three wards at the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby, and has attended Warwick University to help the students cope with their pre-exam stress.

Hilary said: “Everybody who knows Rocco says what a wonderful laidback dog he is. He is often called ‘a gentleman’ by the fellow dog walkers we know. Everyone is immensely proud of his achievements.”

Rocco and the other five finalists will proudly parade around the show arena, soaking up the glory as their achievements are revealed to the crowd, before the top dog is announced as the winner of a cheque for £500 and a three-month supply of HiLife goodies.

The competition is sponsored by HiLife, a high-quality pet food brand produced by Town & Country Petfoods based in Melton Mowbray.

Marketing director for HiLife, Peter Parkinson, said: “We are so proud to be supporting Pets As Therapy and we can’t wait to see which one of the amazing finalists is crowned HiLife PAT Dog of the year 2017

“We have worked with PAT Dog for more than 10 years and every year we continue to be amazed by the work of the finalists. They improve the lives of so many who are going through tough times or illness. Working with this charity is a pleasure, and we love hearing their stories, they never fail to brighten up our day.”

For Rocco’s big day, Hilary said he will be extremely pampered:

“Rocco will be having a full groom, including a ‘Blueberry Facial’ the day before his appearance at Crufts. But his morning walk on the day of the final will have to be on a lead and not across the fields, in case he decides to roll in something horrible.”

For more information about HiLife visit or Facebook on and Twitter @HiLIfeDog.

For Pets As Therapy, visit or call 01844 345 445, to find out more.

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