A dog nominated by Wales’ Education Secretary was crowned ‘Wales’ Most Loyal Pet’ on ITV Wales last night.
Kirsty Williams, who is the Senedd Member for Brecon & Radnorshire, nominated Mae, a Brecon-based Border Collie, for the gong.
Mae provided support for her owner Helen Jones, a constituent who has faced an extremely difficult period when her mother passed away, and her father was diagnosed with cancer.
“I am delighted that Mae from Brecon has been awarded Wales’ Most Loyal Pet – and she is such a deserving winner, having provided much-needed support to Helen over this last year,” Kirsty Williams said.
“We know the mental health and wellbeing benefits of pet ownership and I am pleased that we’re able to celebrate how pets have helped people and communities cope with the Covid-19 restrictions throughout the past year.”
Owner Helen Jones said she was “overwhelmed on hearing the news that Mae has been crowned Wales’ most Loyal Pet”.
“Whilst I rescued Mae many years ago, it is in fact she that has rescued me by providing continued love and support in these most difficult of times.
“This year has been tough for everyone, and despite the challenges I face, I feel fortunate to have Mae by my side, it has been enormously comforting as I live on my own and haven’t been able to get the support from my friends due to the Covid restrictions.”
The ‘Wales’ Most Loyal Pet’ competition has been run in partnership with ITV Wales and Blue Cross, a UK-wide charity that has been helping sick, injured, abandoned and homeless pets for over 120 years.
The judging panel was Nigel Owens MBE, ITV Wales weather presenter Kelsey Redmore, Chief Executive of Platfform (a mental health charity) Ewan Hilton, and Blue Cross Chief Operating Officer Kelly Greiller.
The runners-up were: Jack, a Chihuahua from Ceredigion and his owner Sarah Edwards; Sol, a Sheepdog from Swansea and his owners Beth and Chris Reilly; and Barney from Gower, and his owner Marcus.
Mae will receive a six-month subscription to Love Louie’s personalised boxes, and a £40 voucher.
Blue Cross Head of Public Affairs Becky Thwaites added: “We were all moved by Mae and Helen’s story and this competition is part of an ongoing campaign by Blue Cross to highlight the benefits of animal ownership and pet therapy in our NHS more widely.
“Mae’s story reinforces the need for us to consider how we can use pets and pet ownership to help improve the nations mental health and wellbeing, which is especially important given the far-reaching impact of Covid and the restrictions in place.”