DOGS TRUST DOG OF THE YEAR
Staffie bred for fighting before being rescued has become an ambassador of hope in a bid to break the stigma associated with his breed.
Staffordshire bull terriers have become one of the most unwanted and hard to home dogs. But 12-year-old Max, who had a brutal start in life, is helping prove the much maligned breed has an unfair label.
Amelia Piper, 19, and her family adopted Max when he was eight months old after he was discovered locked in a small crate, where he was being kept for use in dog fights. Despite his ordeal, Max had a gentle nature and was a perfect assistance dog for Amelia’s disabled elder sister. Inspired by his sweet character, Amelia created a Facebook group dedicated to Max and to teach the world the truth about Staffies.
Max is now the official ambassador for the Senior Staffy Club, a charity that helps re-home older Staffies, and is involved in fundraising. He also visits lonely older people in his community.
“Dogfather” Graeme Hall, The Yorkshire-born dog trainer, best known for presenting Channel 5 show Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly said: “You started life as the underdog but you’ve been doing your doggie bit to help others since.”
Last year hundreds of pet owners took part in a campaign called #MaxAmbassadorInspires, posting photos online of their cats and dogs who had overcome the odds.
Amelia, a third year Earth Science degree student, from Conwy, Wales, says: “I want to show the world that the Staffie’s unwarranted bad reputation is not fair. Some people show great fear and trepidation when approaching him even though he always wants to say hello to everyone and wags his tail furiously.
“Max is changing the stigma that surrounds the breed and people’s negative attitudes. He is so loving, caring and gentle with my sister but also with everyone he meets. His loyal and gentle nature make him the perfect gentleman.
“He became the Ambassador for Staffies because everybody he meets can see he is a credit to the breed amidst the unwarranted bad press painting Staffies as ghastly. This is the reason why the Senior Staffy Club chose him as their Ambassador.”
Amelia, who is also the founder of non-for-profit organisation, MajorTim.space which educates young people on STEM subjects (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics , adds: “I’m extremely proud of Max for being awarded this great award and on a daily basis for shining such a positive light on this much overlooked breed.”