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A Newfoundland dog called Lulu, who saved Roger Gale MP’s wife, Suzy, from a fire, was named Westminster Dog of the Year on Monday (20 October).

Claire Bicknell of the Dogs Trust, which runs the competition jointly with the Kennel Club, explains: “Roger was in London and Suzy was alone in the house. A new fuse box caught fire, melted and began to burn the cupboard it was in. Lulu barked continuously until Suzy got out of bed and called the emergency services.”

The Westminster Dog of the Year competition, which is non-political and judged on good deeds and behaviour rather than looks, is in its 11th year and is open to dogs from both houses.

Second place went to Bobby, a five-month-old Cairn Terrier, whose owner Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe wanted a dog to help him through a long-term illness. “Bobby has been a real strength to him while he’s been ill,” says Claire.

Zack, a Bedlington Terrier belonging to Vera Baird QC MP, took third place. He is quite unusual looking and well known in his constituency as he goes everywhere with Vera.

The 10 contestants were judged by Dogs Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin, Kennel Club chief executive Rosemary Smart and John Whittingdale MP.

“The competition is designed to highlight the special bond between a dog and his owner,” says Claire. “It is also our way to thank you MPs for the work we do with them throughout the year and is another way for us to promote responsible dog ownership.”