Heroic hound Brin up for top Crufts award

A STARVING Afghan hound that saved soldiers’ lives by sniffing out roadside bombs in Afghanistan only to be rehomed in East Sussex is one of the heroic dogs in the running for a top award at Crufts 2013.

The Kennel Club’s Friends for Life competition has been running since 2006 and celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have truly earned the title of man’s best friend, through bravery, support or companionship.

Sally Baldwin and Brin.

Sally Baldwin and Brin.

Brin, who will be one of over 25,000 happy, healthy dogs at Birmingham’s NEC, survived capture by the Taliban and rescue by Afghanistan Special Forces to be rehomed in the UK by Hailsham teacher Sally Baldwin, 51.

Sally sold her car and raised £4,000 to bring Brin home after reading of his exploits on Facebook and being amazed at how he saved Coldstream Guards out on patrol from death by alerting them to an IED.

Brin was adopted by the soldiers in Helmand Province, but faced being left behind and killed when the unit flew home until Sally’s intervention.

After a hair-raising five-day journey to Kabul in a bomb-proof box, Brin was flown to the UK and now the pair travel the country raising money and awareness of animal charity Nowzad, which has rehomed hundreds of animals from war-torn Afghanistan.

“Brin has been through so much but this never stopped him being loyal, loving and brave,” said Sally. “Despite being left starving and abandoned, he found new humans to love and saved the soldiers’ lives.

“Having survived being captured by the Taliban, he came back to the UK and made the most loving pet. He is one in a million.”

Four other heart-warming stories have also been nominated for the award but to vote for Sally and Brin, you need to call the Kennel Club Friends for Life competition line on 0844 646 0205, with lines closing at 6.30pm on March 10.

The winner of the Friends for Life competition will be presented with £1,500 to give to their chosen charity and the other finalists will receive £750, with Sally donating the money to Nowzad Dogs.

Caroline Kisko, secretary of The Kennel Club, said: “The dogs nominated for this year’s Friends for Life competition help to remind us what it is that makes the relationship between dog and man so very special.

“Each and every one of the finalists has helped to change and save lives, and can teach us all a lesson about loyalty, companionship and bravery.”

In 2013, The Kennel Club is celebrating 140 years of promoting healthy, happy dogs. The Kennel Club is the largest organisation in the UK dedicated to the health, welfare and training of dogs.