Angela Rayner and Luna

Owner’s Name: Angela Rayner

Constituency: Ashton under Lyne

Dog’s Name: Luna

Breed: Luna is a Golden Labrador

Sex: Female

Age: 2 years old

Colour: Blonde

 

What are your favourite characteristics in your dog?

Luna came into our family to be a buddy dog for my son Charlie. Charlie was born at 23 weeks (17 weeks prematurely) and beat all the odds to survive. He is now 11 and makes us proud every day with how far he’s come. He will start at a mainstream senior school in September and is very excited. He is registered blind but is looking forward to his new challenge despite the difficulties that he will face. Luna will accompany him to and from school every day and be by his side in the classroom. This will give him the independence he needs as he gets older while giving me and his dad the comfort of knowing that he has his buddy with him if he gets overwhelmed and needs a bit of extra support.

 

How does your dog enhance your day to day life?

Although Luna is technically Charlie’s dog, she has become a hugely valued member of the Rayner family. Even our cats Woozle and Tilly have become proud siblings, despite them not being too sure at first! Seeing Luna and Charlie play together warms my heart and she even sleeps on the end of his bed, such is her determination and commitment to looking after him!

For me, I love nothing more than getting home after a long week in Parliament and taking Luna on a long walk in my constituency. She is an excellent hiking companion and after an hour in the fresh air with her, the trials and tribulations of politics start to melt away.

 

What dog welfare issues do you think need tackling?

I am passionate about owners making sure their dogs are microchipped as this gives peace of mind should they go missing and the chip holds vital information.

I am passionate about modes of public transport being accessible for dogs. Although my son will be walking to school, I want him to have the freedom to use buses, trams and trains as he gets older so I need them to be safe places for Luna to travel.

Luna is a buddy dog so we had to get her from a specialised breeder as she had to go through specific training but I am passionate about encouraging people who don’t need assistance dogs to consider adopting one from an animal shelter rather than buying from a private breeder. I have heard some horror stories about breeders who don’t follow the correct procedures, leaving dogs with deformities and illnesses.

 

How do you ensure you are a responsible dog owner?

We always make sure Luna is well exercised and that her immunisations are up to date, as well as her worm and flea treatment. My walking coat pockets are always full of poo bags to make sure that I don’t leave a nasty surprise behind for fellow walkers. It might not be glamorous but I’m very strict about cleaning up after Luna and so is Charlie. Making she sure Luna gets her exercise has made the whole family fitter and healthier!

 

Why should your dog be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year 2019?

It is not an exaggeration to say that Luna has transformed our family. Charlie has always been a confident boy, despite all the obstacles life has thrown at him, but he was worried about starting big school. With Luna by his side, he can look forward to his new challenge rather than dread it. She went with him on his taster day and he said it was the best day ever. She is so patient with him as he learns new routes and they have become the best of friends. I would be over the moon to see Luna recognised for the way she has made my son’s life so much better!

 

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