Maya, a four-year-old Border Collie owned by Emma Harper, MSP for South Scotland, has been crowned 2017 Holyrood Dog of the Year.
The inaugural competition, organised by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, took place on Monday 8 May in the Scottish Parliament Gardens, Holyrood. The MSPs entering campaigned hard, canvassing for votes before meeting the expert judges to boast about their dog's heroic deeds and acts of devotion. Maya defeated her 14 'paw-litical' opponents to win the title.
Winning MSP Emma Harper said, "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 was made up of Adrian Burder, CEO of Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club’s Bill Lambert and sponsor of the event, Ruth Davidson MSP.
Adrian Burder commented, "We’re thrilled to be celebrating the wonderful hounds at Holyrood 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."
In second place was Dogs Trust dog, Astra, a Bulldog competing with Bill Bowman, MSP for North East Scotland, and in third was Cinder, a Terrier cross owned by Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray.