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Sniffer dog Buster is Crufts hero.

A DOG that served alongside a Warwickshire soldier in Iraq won a major award at Crufts.

Former rescue dog Buster won Hero Dog of the Year Award at the nation's biggest dog show, at the NEC.

More than 45,000 television viewers voted for Buster the spaniel for his Army sniffer dog work in war-torn parts of the world, including Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

His proud Bedworth handler Danny Morgan, who received the award from Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker, said: "He's my overall hero dog ... he's a rescue dog come good."

Buster had previously been awarded the prestigious Dickin medal from animal charity the PDSA.

In March 2003, Buster located arms, explosives and bomb-making equipment in buildings in Safwan, thought to be the headquarters of extremists responsible for attacks on British forces.

The haul included AK47 assault rifles, a pistol, six primed grenades, grenade fuses and ammunition in magazines.

Sgt Morgan serves with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, and is a former pupil of Bedworth's Nicholas Chamberlaine School. His parents, Philip and Sheila Morgan, still live in Bedworth but he is now based in Aldershot.

The other star of the show was a six-year-old Norfolk terrier that won Best In Show at yesterday's final. Champion Cracknor Cause Celebre, or Coco, had previously won the terrier category and beat six other group winners to take the title. Nearly 21,500 dogs of almost 200 breeds featured in the four-day event.

Coco, a bitch who had three puppies last July, takes the title from last year's winner, a whippet bitch Cobyco Call The Tune, or Deedee.

Local winners included Nuneaton Dog Training Club who took first place in the Flyball competition.

The team of five dogs beat competitors from all over the country in a relay race.

Owner of one of the winning dogs Eileen Durrans, of Parry Road, Wyken, said she was delighted with the performance.

Grandmother-of-three Mrs Durrans said the team including her four year- old Border Collie Meg had done very well.


VIEWERS' FAVOURITE: Sgt Danny Morgan shows his delight as he picks up Hero Dog of the Year Buster at Crufts at the NEC; JUDGES' FAVOURITE: Norfolk terrier Coco is Crufts Supreme Champion
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 14, 2005
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