We asked you if your dog could help you win the trip of a lifetime…

Now five of Northern Ireland’s most heroic and hardworking dogs have been selected as finalists in a competition to find our ‘Most Deserving Dog’ to win a dream holiday in Scotland.

The competition, launched August 26 coincided with National Dogs Day, and saw people across Northern Ireland nominating put-upon pups, heroic hounds and dogs that have simply had a ruff year (get it?)  in the hope of winning the dream prize.

Marc Casey, Stena Line Marketing Manager (Irish Sea North), said: “It was great to see such a spread of inspiring stories from heroic and hardworking dogs right across Northern Ireland.”

“Selecting just five dogs was incredibly tough. Each of the finalists are worthy winners in their own right with incredible stories – from guide dogs and assistance dogs, to therapy pups and dogs who have simply had a ruff year.”

Check out stenaline.co.uk/doggybreaks to vote for their favourite dog and help them get one step closer to winning a dream doggy ‘pawliday’ to Scotland.

The winning dog will be selected by a public vote which closes Thursday October 8.

And just because we here at belfastvibe love dogs so much, we caught up with each adorable doggie finalist, with each story from the families who dote on their beloved pets so much.

Read each touching story – perfect if you’re after a wee bit of procrastination in work (yep, be it morning/afternoon/evening we’ve got your back…) – be warned though, there’s a genuine danger you ‘ll out and buy a dog after this.

Jet (Labrador) – suffered a tragic accident


Rory Eakin with six year old dog Jet,in recovery after a cliff fall

Rory Eakin with six year old dog Jet,in recovery after a cliff fall

“Back in June, Jet, fell 70 feet off a cliff along the north coast of Northern Ireland.”

“Luckily he managed to survive with only two broken legs and a cracked rib. Jet has had a couple of surgeries since then to help set the bones and he is thankfully starting to get back on his feet.”

“As you can imagine however, it will be a long road to recovery, and he is currently recovering from another bout of surgery to correct a rotating fracture. Jet loves the outdoors and going on long walks and has unfortunately been unable to do so while he recovers from his fall. Jet would love a chance to go adventuring in Scotland when he is feeling better. Please vote for Jet.”

Jack (Golden Retriever) – the heroic assistance dog


Jenni and Michael McFall with their children, five year old Zach and baby Caleb, with three year old Golden Retriever Jack. Picture by Brian Morrison.

Jenni and Michael McFall with their children, five year old Zach and baby Caleb, with three year old Golden Retriever Jack

“Jack is a three year old Autism Assistance Service Dog for our five year old boy, Zach. Zach is non-verbal with Autism and Significant Learning Difficulties and Jack joined our family to help Zach through his life, making him more independent and confident.”

“Jack is trained in Autism Awareness and is trained to respond to Zach’s needs. Zach has no danger awareness and struggles with everyday situations such as bright lights, loud noises and sensory situations. Jack senses danger before Zach and when attached is trained to anchor his body, preventing Zach from running onto roads or becoming involved in a dangerous situation.”

“Jack is also trained for when Zach becomes distressed and has an ‘autistic meltdown’ – Jack will push his body up against Zach to give him the sensory input his body needs.”

“Jack is our ‘Guardian Angel’ and since he has joined our family the difference it has made to our family life is amazing. We can go out to restaurants and go on holidays without being frightened of a meltdown. Jack would love to win the dream doggie trip to Scotland for his best friend, Zach, and his family – please vote for Jack.”

Becky (Mongrel) – the hardworking community dog


Margaret McKnight with ten year old mongrel Becky

Margaret McKnight with ten year old mongrel Becky

“Becky is a ten year old mongrel Pets As Therapy dog. For the past eight years she has visited regularly in a local EMI unit and a residential home.”

“With her owner, she has also raised a serious amount of money for the charity and always accompanies her ‘mum’ when she gives talks to raise awareness about Pets as Therapy.”

“Disaster struck in July 2014 when she ruptured her right Cruciate ligament and had to have major surgery, a TTA, in Earlswood veterinary hospital. Six months later she ruptured her left Cruciate so had to have another TTA operation. Then her vet, Linda Glenn, discovered that she has a leaking pancreas.”

” Now Becky is on a very low fat diet and has to take lots of pills but she is back visiting in Sumerhill Residential Home, hurrah! With three big operations it’s been a hard year for her but she keeps wagging her tail and smiling at everyone because that is what Pets As Therapy dogs do! Becky would love to win the dream doggie holiday to Scotland for her and her mum and get a well-deserved break – please vote for Becky.”

Ivy (Labrador) – the loyal guide dog


Vicky Kyle with Labrador Ivy

Vicky Kyle with Labrador Ivy

“Ivy is a working guide dog and has been inseparable from her owner for the last four and a half years. Ivy’s owner is in need of a kidney transplant and Ivy not only guides her and keeps her safe, but she keeps her owner upbeat and active!”

“She takes her to all her hospital appointments and gives her the best reason to keep fighting. She is a true best friend and asks for nothing in return. She is so hard working loving and loyal and her owner’s life would be so empty without her. Ivy deserves a lovely holiday to relax and have fun because she is a true hero – please vote for Ivy!”

Floyd – the dog that has had a ruff year


Jayne Bailie and four month old baby Evie, with terrier Floyd

Jayne Bailie and four month old baby Evie, with terrier Floyd

“Floyd needs a break; he’s had a very ruff year! Earlier this year he was stung by a swarm of almost 100 jellyfish, when all he wanted to do was dunk for rocks – that’s his favourite past time.”

“He was foaming at the mouth and a rushed visit to the vets and some bed rest had him dunking again in no time. His life was turned upside down in April when his little sister appeared – baby Evie.”

“He spends every day entertaining her and accepts her as the youngest member of the family pack.  Sadly, his grandad died suddenly in June.  He knows that he is missing and we are all sad.  He’s great at giving emotional support to his granny and family – giving us little licks and cuddles every day.”

“Floyd would love to win a much needed break to Scotland for him and his family to have some fun – please vote for Floyd.”

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