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Roo Achieves Best In Show At Abbeyfield Care Home Dog Show

A Golden Retriever called Roo has taken the title of ‘Best in Show’ at a dog show held at Westall House, a residential care home for older people in Heathfields run by Abbeyfield.

The show, which was the brainchild of activities coordinator Lynn Mayfield, brought together the residents, their families, staff, volunteers and their canine companions to compete for a variety of different awards.

Parading in front of the watchful and impartial eye of renowned dog trainer Debbie Mullen, whose niece Mel Parsons is a receptionist at the home, the beloved pets vied for titles including ‘Waggiest Tail’, ‘Precious Pup’, ‘Golden Oldie’, and even ‘Dog That Looks Most Like Its Owner’. The winners of each category were entered for the ‘Best in Show’ award, which was won by Roo and his handler, Jenny Virtue.

Jenny and Roo are regular visitors to Westall House. As well as brining Roo in for cuddles with the residents, she has been helping out with the home’s popular monthly coffee mornings for over a decade.

Those attending the show were served Pimm’s and lemonade and a card games stall was also operated, while younger visitors enjoyed an arts and crafts session. A raffle was also held in aid of the local Young Carers group in Burgess Hill, which the home regularly supports, raising £85.

Resident Janet Hewitt said, “It was a wonderful event for the whole family. My daughter and two of my great-grandchildren came, and my great-granddaughter was thrilled to win the cuddly toy in the ‘Guess the name of the cuddly puppy’ competition! They want to come again next year!”

Lynn said, “Our residents love to get engaged in all sorts of activities and events, and they love it when animals – especially dogs – come to visit us. This was a great opportunity to bring many of their favourite dogs together in one place for a fun event.

“Many of our residents live with some form of dementia, and interaction with animals is proven to have a positive effect for these people, helping to alleviate stress, rekindle old memories and kickstart conversations.”

“A lot of work was involved in putting on the show,” said Jenny, “especially moving it inside at the last moment due to the bad weather, and it was a huge success.

“It goes without saying that I was proud of Roo winning Best in Show, particularly because she is quite well-known at Westall House! The judge was most kind about her.”