Crufts 2014: War Dog Wins Award 3 Years After Being Saved by British Soldiers

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 9, 2014

The annual United Kingdom canine event Crufts provided a moment to tug at the heart strings.

In amongst the high-class pure pedigree dogs, you'll find the crossbreeds who have delightfully had their own section, Scruffts, at the tournament for many a year.

Scruffts could be described as the UK’s favourite crossbreed competition, and this year's competition was as fierce as any other. But one mongrel in particular brought a real tear to the eye.

Back in 2011, Wylie was found walking the streets of Kandahar, Afghanistan, by a group of British soldiers on patrol, as detailed by John Ingham of the Express.

What they found was a dog with some of the most appalling injuries they had ever seen.

On Saturday, Wylie was crowned the supreme champion, beating more than 1,000 other mutts to the title, and when you hear his astonishing story, it's easy to understand why he is such a worthy winner. 

It was a story that clearly resonated with the dog lovers.


Local men had stabbed him, chopped off part of his tail, cut open his muzzle and sliced off his ears. At the time of rescue, he was being beaten with sticks and had been thrown under a car by local thugs.

He was passed into the care of the Nowzad charity, founded by Royal Marine Pen Farthing. Farthing, as with many military personnel on tours of duty, befriended local dogs but was disgusted by their treatment.

In the Helmand town of Now Zad in 2006, the marine broke up a ferocious dogfight and adopted one of those involved in the gruesome spectacle.

A few months later, the charity was formed.

Sgt. Farthing, 43, from Exeter, noted, per a report by William Turvill in the Daily Mail:

The relationships built up between a dog and soldier on bases can be very special.

A dog can ease the stress and provide five minutes of normality that is hugely important in that kind of environment.

After being treated by Nowzad vets, Wylie was taken to quarantine in the West Country. A female Australian soldier had expressed an interest in caring for him, but Australia's strict quarantine laws quickly put paid to any transfer.

Nowzad brought him to Britain and one of his regular visitors, Sarah Singleton, quickly fell in love with Wylie and gave him the home he deserved.

Via Ingham, she said:

No-one can believe a dog can be so sweet after all the horrors he has been through. It is just his nature. It is like he has no memory of it.

He is the most loving trusting dog. He loves everybody which is why he does so well at competitions.

Her genuine love and care gave the playful young hound a new lease of life as he settled into his new environment. Thankfully, such vile acts are now just distant memories.

Despite the appalling treatment Wylie suffered in war-torn Kandahar, the dog has no distrust of males, according to Singleton:

He really likes men even though it would have been men who hurt him. But the soldiers who looked after him were men.

I am so incredibly proud of him. 

Just three years after his rescue, Wylie's life has come full circle with the win. Singleton again:

The journey he has been on from Afghanistan where he was near death so many times to now in the main ring at Crufts is just amazing.

For a dog with his background to get to Crufts is amazing. He represents all the rescue dogs and all the underdogs from all round the world. 

Such a positive ending to Wylie's story could surely not have been envisaged on that fateful day when he was found near death.

It goes to highlight that with love, care and compassion, good will always triumph over evil in the end.