There was a worthy winner in Holyrood today (Monday 8 May), as Maya, a four year old Border Collie belonging to Emma Harper, MSP for South Scotland, was crowned 2017 Holyrood Dog of the Year.
The inaugural Holyrood Dog of the Year competition, organised by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, took place today in the Scottish Parliament Gardens, Holyrood. Maya showed dogged determination as she battled it out to defeat 14 ‘paw-litical’ opponents to win the coveted title of Holyrood Dog of the Year, arguably the most sought-after new title in politics.
The MSPs entering the competition campaigned hard, canvassing for votes from the public before meeting the expert judges to boast about their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of devotion.
Winning MSP, Emma Harper said of her four year old Border Collie, Maya:
"I am absolutely delighted to have won the first ever Holyrood Dog of the Year and so is Maya. We, and all the other candidates, have had a fantastic day and Maya has definitely earned herself a biscuit after her performance. We prepared for today's event by giving Maya lots of exercise and a big bath.
“While it's a fun and light-hearted occasion it's also a great opportunity to discuss the importance of responsible dog ownership and animal welfare. I have three dogs and all of them have been adopted from rescue centres. I would encourage anyone hoping to get a dog to adopt a rescue dog as they are vet checked, microchipped and desperately in need of a loving home.
“I might have another rescue dog next year, and we’d be very eager to take part in the next Holyrood Dog of the Year, I would encourage my MSP colleagues to do the same."
The judging panel – Adrian Burder, CEO of Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club’s Bill Lambert and sponsor of the event, Ruth Davidson MSP– spent the morning with dogs from different political persuasions and ambitions.
Commenting on the reason Maya was selected as the first winner of Holyrood Dog of the Year, Dogs Trust CEO, Adrian Burder, said:
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating the wonderful hounds at Holyrood today at our first Holyrood Dog of the Year competition. It’s been a tremendous day; we were all delighted to see so many MSPs take part. It was a tough competition but Emma and Maya really stood out for us. I would like to thank all the MSPs for taking part and of course, their four-legged friends.”
Bill Lambert from the Kennel Club continued:
“With so many MSPs and dutiful dogs here it has definitely been no mean feat choosing a winner, however the bond between Emma and Maya is undeniable, this was clear to the judges who were very impressed by the pair. Many congratulations to our worthy winners and we wish Maya all the best for the year ahead, reigning as Scotland’s top dog.”
Leading the opposition in second place was Dogs Trust dog, Astra, a Bulldog competing with Bill Bowman, MSP for North East Scotland, with a place in the (trophy) cabinet awarded to Cinder, a Terrier cross owned by Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, in third.