Therapy dog Cassie is crowned The Sun on Sunday’s Ruffts Awards winner

MEET Cassie – the winner of The Sun on Sunday’s Ruffts Awards contest.

When Crufts was cancelled this year we launched our replacement for the world’s biggest dog show to find a mutt that could bow-wow-wow our judges.

Cassie the golden retriever has been crowned The Sun on Sunday’s Ruffts Awards championCredit: The Sun

Cassie, pictured with proud owners Peter and Audrey Miller, is a therapy dog for care home residents

Cassie, pictured with proud owners Peter and Audrey Miller, is a therapy dog for care home residentsCredit: The Sun

We had hundreds of entries but nine-year-old golden retriever Cassie, who visits a care home to spread canine joy, was the clear winner.

Her owners, retired couple Peter Miller, 66, and his wife Audrey, 65, are thrilled.

Audrey said: “She will definitely be getting some extra treats.

“The past year has been difficult as we have not been allowed to visit our friends in the care home, but keeping them all safe is the priority. We can’t wait to see them and make them smile.”

Cassie is among the most popular volunteers at Wag & Company, a charity which helps alleviate loneliness in the elderly.

Audrey, from Hexham, Northumberland, explained how Cassie landed the job.

Cassie and her owners help alleviate loneliness in the elderly

Cassie and her owners help alleviate loneliness in the elderlyCredit: The Sun

She said: “I would take Cassie with me to visit my mother-in-law Susan in her care home, and even though she was never into dogs, they adored each other.”

HEART SING

When Susan passed away three years ago, at the age of 104, Audrey offered Cassie’s services to the befriending charity and they continued to visit the care home together.

Audrey added: “Cassie had to take temperament tests, but she passed them all because Cassie loves everybody. When she goes into the rooms, people’s faces light up.

“There are dementia patients who don’t talk to me, but they will gladly chat away to Cassie. They tell her their life stories. The difference she has made to residents makes my heart sing.”

The valuable work of Wag & Company saw the charity receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year.

Lucky winner Cassie had her very own photoshoot and will be treated to a dog-friendly holiday

Lucky winner Cassie had her very own photoshoot and will be treated to a dog-friendly holidayCredit: The Sun

Our Ruffts Award head judge, Pet Vet Sean McCormack from tailored pet food firm tails.com, was particularly taken with Cassie.

As the winner, she had a photoshoot with top Sun photographer Arthur Edwards and will be going on a holiday with PetsPyjamas, which has more than 14,000 dog-friendly stays at hotels and cottages.

Audrey said: “Having Arthur take Cassie’s photo was an honour. I will treasure it for ever. I can’t thank the Sun on Sunday team of judges enough for picking her as the winner of Ruffts.”

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