Two beloved animals who mean the world to their owners can now celebrate being crowned the winners of our popular Pet of the Year competition.
The contest was run by the Advertiser in conjunction with the Lawrence Veterinary Centre in Eastwood and John Booth Photography, of Ilkeston.
More than 120 perfect pooches, magnificent moggies and more unusual pets were entered in two categories — ‘cats and dogs’ and ‘out of the box and cage’.
But now we can reveal, after the votes have been counted, that our overall winners are Betsy the dog and Sammie the tortoise.
Betsy is a seven-year-old lhasa apso who belongs to Wendy Jepson, 71, of Barber Street, Eastwood.
Mrs Jepson, a retired jewellery shop owner, said that she was delighted Betsy had won as this was the first competition she had ever been entered into.
She explained that Betsy has played such an important role in her life and the life of her late husband, Clive, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and died six years ago at the age of 66.
Mrs Jepson told the Advertiser: “Clive loved Betsy. She always sat with him and she got him out of the house on walks.
“Now she is my whole life and she goes everywhere with me. She is so well behaved.
“It is wonderful that she has won – I can’t believe it.”
Sammie the Hermann tortoise belongs to Valerie Brindle, of Eastwood, who has had her for more than 40 years.
However, the 66-year-old retired machinist is unsure of Sammie’s real age as she was given to Mrs Brindle by a neighbour.
She said: “The lady up the street was digging in the garden when she found Sammie and thought she was a turnip!
“But when she realised it was a tortoise she gave her to me.
“She is fascinating to watch as they have their own little ways.”
The winners each scoop a £100 voucher from John Booth Photography and a £50 voucher from the Lawrence Veterinary Centre.
Jodie Black, from the vet’s, said: “We were pleased with the turnout this year.
“Betsy is a regular here and is well known in the Eastwood area. It was nice to see a ‘non-furry’, Sammie the tortoise, win the first prize too.”
John Booth said: “Congratulations to all the winners and thankyou to everyone who entered their pets and made the competition what it is.”
John will also provide prints of the original entry photos for the winners and runners-up.
Advertiser editor Martin Hutton said: “The competition went really well and it is testament to the animal-loving public of the area that we had so many pets entered into the contest.”