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Rescued from a puppy farm... now Armagh spaniel Lily is crowned UK’s most active pet

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 04/11/2016

The winning picture of cavalier King Charles spaniel Lily, who was rescued from a puppy farm
The winning picture of cavalier King Charles spaniel Lily, who was rescued from a puppy farm
Lily with owner Mairead Hughes and her other dog, Rosie

One Northern Ireland rescue dog sure knows how to fetch for a win.

Lily, a cavalier King Charles spaniel from Armagh, has been recognised as the most active pet in the UK.

She was adopted two years ago by Mairead Hughes, and this summer Mairead entered Lily in the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) photo competition called Active Pets.

"It was just very random chance," she explained. "Lily is an active wee girl and I had that photograph of her and said, 'I'll enter it'.

And now that Lily has been announced as the winner, Mairead said she was delighted.

"She's a great wee girl - she's come so far from her puppy farm start," she added.

Lily was rescued from a puppy farm two years ago by Cavaliers in Need when she was only 18 months old.

Mairead is a trustee on the board of the charity and when she met Lily at a foster home, she "fell for her immediately".

"She is a joy to have as my companion and loves the outdoors, so it's wonderful that her playful, active nature has been recognised in this way," Mairead said.

The photo that Mairead submitted to the competition shows Lily running with her ears flying behind her.

"I submitted the photograph because I was proud of her and love her," Mairead said.

"She's just a wee rescue girl and she's just thoroughly enjoying life... I'm very proud of her. I'm very proud of how far she has come in the two years since she was rescued."

The photo competition opened in August as part of NOAH's Happy, Healthy Pets Project, an online gallery showing pictures of healthy pets. Now the project has more than 2,000 pictures of pets from across the UK.

The Active Pets photo competition received more than 140 entries, which Lily beat for the winning spot.

Lily's active personality shone through in her photo, wowing the judging panel from NOAH and two guest judges for her win.

Sarah Kidby, from PetFocus and Marie Carter, the editor of Pets Magazine, were the two guest judges.

"All of the entries were of such a high standard that it was extremely difficult to choose an eventual winner," Ms Carter said.

"Cavalier King Charles spaniels are wrongly judged as lap dogs but, as this photo proves, they can be very sporting too."

NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said that the broad number of entries showed how active pets in the UK are.

"We spotted Lily's potential straight away and are delighted to name her as our winner," she added. "We hope her picture inspires other pets and owners."

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