A RETIRED couple are celebrating after their dog won a national award.

Audrey and Peter Miller were delighted to find that their dog Cassie had won Best in Show at the Sun on Sunday’s Ruffts Awards.

Cassie, a nine year old golden retriever, beat hundreds of entries to win the crown – and the prize of a photoshoot with the Sun’s Royal Photography Arthur Edwards and a voucher towards a pet-friendly holiday.

Audrey said: “I entered the competition in April and thought no more about it. Then I received an email to say Cassie had won. I’m incredibly proud of her – I always have been, but winning the award has been amazing really.”

However, Cassie didn’t win the award for being the best looking dog or completing an agility challenge. She is a registered friendship dog with Hexham-based charity Wag and Co.

Audrey said: “I’m certain that her work with Wag and Co has helped her to win the award.

“She loves people, she’s a very empathic dog and can pick up on feelings.”

Cassie’s “career” as a therapy dog started when she used to visit Audrey’s mother-in-law Susan at Acomb Court care home in Hexham.

Since then, she has visited several friends from Wag and Co and Audrey says they both cannot wait to get back to their visits now restrictions are lifting.

Diane Morton, founder and director of Wag and Company, said: “We’re so proud of Cassie. She is a beautiful Friendship Dog with a gorgeous soul – a perfect winner. She and Audrey are such fantastic volunteers and we know they have badly missed visiting their friends at Acomb Court every week during this pandemic. It’s lovely to see them being recognised like this.”