The Kennel Club and Agria Pet Insurance have announced the winners of the inaugural Agria Welfare Awards. This event celebrates the dedicated work of Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisations and the rescue dogs under their care.

The awards ceremony took place at The Stratford Manor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, following the annual Kennel Club Breed Rescue Conference. It welcomed Breed Rescue coordinators, volunteers, and dogs from across the country. With over 3,000 nominations, the awards recognised individuals as well as organisations going above and beyond for the health and welfare of breed rescue dogs.

Award Winners and Finalists

Breed Rescue of the Year
Winner: The Edward Foundation
Finalists: Border Terrier Welfare and Ridgeback Rescue

Founded in 2011, The Edward Foundation is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming Bulldogs. The charity was recognised for its tireless team promoting the breed through rescue efforts. Marion Beardall, Trustee and Vice Chairwoman of The Edward Foundation, expressed her delight: “These awards were our very first one and how delighted we were when we won Best Breed Rescue! There has been 13 years of hard work, with over 2,000 dogs and endless sleepless nights, but winning this award has made it all worthwhile.”

Breed Rescue Coordinator of the Year
Winner: Margarita Booker, Weimaraner Club Of GB Rescue and Rehoming Service
Finalists: Melanie Mann, Papillon (Butterfly Dog) Club Rescue and Shirley Hinchliffe, Beardies In Need

Margarita Booker was honoured for her dedication to Weimaraners, as well as her commitment to educating prospective owners through various events. James Kelly, Show Secretary for the Weimaraner Club of GB, accepted the award on her behalf. She also stated, “This award shows how much Margarita is appreciated, and she is thrilled to have won – and would like to acknowledge that this is for all the people who work with rescue dogs.”

Breed Rescue Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Eileen Peers, Bloodhound Rescue
Finalists: Dee Randle, The Edward Foundation and Ian Tyson, Dobermann Rescue UK and Europe

Eileen Peers was selected for her unwavering commitment to Bloodhound Rescue. Eileen expressed her joy: “I am absolutely delighted and thrilled. I cannot believe that I have been singled out for this honour!”

Rescue Dog of the Year
Winner: Bob, a Bearded Collie, owned by Lucy Rowan, adopted from Beardies in Need
Finalists: Pixel, Papillon from Papillon Butterfly Dog Club Rescue and Roory, Wire Fox Terrier from Wire Fox Terrier Association Rescue

Bob’s story is one of resilience and recovery. After losing his owners at twelve years old and facing multiple relocations, Bob was finally taken in by Beardies in Need. He has since become a happy, sociable dog. A spokesperson for the awards said, “Despite Bob’s later years and gradually deteriorating eyesight, he has made a huge leap of faith and put his trust in a new family to offer him sanctuary, love, grooming, and medical care.”

Special Recognition Award

The Special Recognition Award was given in memory of Sonny, a Boxer who passed away in January 2024. Sonny was adopted by Russ and Michelle Aspin ten years ago. Despite his lack of training, Sonny became a beloved figure in the community, especially at the Accrington Boxer Walks organised by Russ. Over his lifetime, Sonny helped raise over £15,000 for Boxer Rescue.

Jan Takhar from Boxer Dog Rescue Northern England praised Sonny’s legacy, “Sonny was playful and respectful and had a calming effect on other dogs. His legacy is his fundraising and together with Russ, they were a prolific fundraising team.”

Karen Green, Channel Team Manager at Agria, also announced a new initiative inspired by Sonny. “Agria is delighted to share that we have recently acquired an acre of woodland in honour of beloved pets who have passed away,” she said. “This initiative was inspired by the many sincere nominations we received for a special Boxer named Sonny.”

Russ Aspin also continues to honour Sonny’s memory by organising events and raising funds for Boxer Rescue. In April, another Accrington Boxer Walk in Sonny’s memory raised £1,500.

Celebrating Dedication and Passion

Anita Tabrett, spokesperson for Kennel Club Breed Rescue, congratulated all winners and finalists. “We would like to congratulate all five winners, as well as our eight finalists, all of which exemplify the ethos of Kennel Club Breed Rescue and demonstrate dedication and passion towards their breeds and organisations.”

Kennel Club Breed Rescue supports breed rescue organisations in finding homes for pedigree dogs in the UK, rehoming approximately 10,000 dogs each year.

Image credit: Maxime David – MXIMD Pictures Ltd