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Dogs not to be sniffed at.. WEEK 2 IN SEARCH FOR IRELAND'S TOP POOCH.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE By DEIRDRE O'DONOVAN

THE Irish Sunday Mirror is dog tired from reading all the entries we've received for the coveted title of Ireland's Top Dog.

Since we launched our amazing competition last week, we have been inundated with photos of precious pooches.

But we want more.

If you own a dog, then you'd be barking mad not to enter this fang-tastic competition which knocks spots off anything you've seen before.

So make sure you're first out of the trap and let us hear about your four-legged friends.

We'll be picking the Top Dog from the following three categories:

I'LL BE THERE FUR YOU: Does your dog bring companionship and comfort to your life? Or to someone else's?

AMAZING TAILS: Can your dog talk? Can he sing? Open the door? Has he survived an incredible ordeal?

MAN'S BEST LOOKING FRIEND: Do you love him or her just because you think they're the most gorgeous dog in the world?

Well, we want to hear all about it.

And don't worry if your pooch is more mongrel than pampered pet, because this competition is open to all canine competitors.

The overall winner will receive a year's supply of dog food courtesy of Pedigree, a year's pet cover insurance from Allianz, a dog makeover from Dogsbody and a pair of Doggles - dog sunglasses, thanks to Insight Opticians.

The two runners-up will receive a hamper from Pedigree.

As Ireland's leading pet food, the Pedigree range has lots of variety to suit all of your dog's nutritional needs.

Great tasting and full of nutrition, Pedigree will keep your dog happy and healthy for life. Pedigree - only what's best for dogs.

We will be running the competition over the summer weeks and the grand final will take place live on air on TV3's Ireland Am breakfast show.

And the judges will be TV3 presenter Alan Hughes and Irish Sunday Mirror editor Christian McCashin.

Here is just a selection of some of the super pets we've heard about already.

Jeffrey is Gretta Crahan's faithful pal and she believes the 11-year-old lab deserves to be voted Ireland's Top Dog.

She said: "He has given me so much companionship. I bought him as a tiny pup just after my husband died and he kept me going when I was down, with those lovely brown eyes starring up at me.

"We are growing old gracefully together, but he is very active, carrying in the milk and turf. He leaves the sod at my feet. He is wonderful."

And Sheila Devlin describes her hound Heather as womans' best friend.

She said: "Heather is my soulmate and gives me everything I need in life - love and companionship. She is nearly four-years-of-age and is very bossy with some dogs. She meets all her pals and humans with delight - especially if they have titbits. I cannot imagine my life without her."

And Christina and Mary McGrath rely on their dog Snowey to get them up in the morning.

Mary said: "Every morning she calls us at 7.30am for school. We give her breakfast then she waits for us to get dressed and walks with us to school."

Christina added: "She sits at the school gates to see us going in and when we come out again, she is there waiting for us. She also loves tennis, but is always trying to rob the balls. We only got her from the vet in January, but already she has become a member of our family and we love her very much."

And Danny Newman thinks his dog Charlie deserves an award for always being there 'fur' him when he's feeling down.

He said: "Charlie has been my constant companion for the last year. I had major surgery over a year ago and Charlie has brightened up my life. Everyone loves him."

And according to Finian Reid's owner Rita, he is the best looking best friend in Ballyfermot.

She said: "When my son and my husband died in two years I was on my own so I only have him. Finian sits inside my gate every day and all the children come over and pet him. He's a gentle soul and loves the attention."

Every single one of our entries have what it takes to be Ireland's Top Dog. What about your dog?
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Title Annotation:Competition/Offers
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2005
Words:718
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