'Dog that saved my life' up for Crufts award, East End ex-cop close to suicide reveals
PUBLISHED: 12:43 29 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:55 29 December 2016
Former Met police officer Jackie Kennedy had thoughts of suicide at a low-point in her life—crippled with a rare neurological condition—until she was given a working Labrador to keep her company.
The dog that has become her life companion at her home in London’s East End for the past 15 months and has saved her life three times has been nominated for the Crufts 2017 Friends for Life award.
The 51-year-old dog-owner has a neurological condition with epileptic fits which has threatened her life.
But two-year-old Kingston has been on hand to help, given to her by Canine Partners charity to support her with daily tasks.
“Kingston is my own little angel who just knows when people need to be comforted,” Jackie told the East London Advertiser today.
“He’s cut through his own tether and lead to raise the alarm to get me help and can spot one of my diabetic episodes 45 minutes before they happen with dangerous blood sugar levels.
“Before Kingston, I had thoughts of suicide—life wasn’t worth living.”
The bond has since gone from strength to strength, giving her a new lease of life after she had struggled to cope with the disability that left her in a wheelchair.
Jackie first saw Kingston at a charity fundraiser in Canary Wharf in 2015 when he was just a pup and thought whoever got him would be lucky.
“I was thrilled when Kingston was offered to me,” she recalls. “The moment we met it was love at first sight.
“He’s an incredible dog that does things you wouldn’t believe possible, which is the reason I’m alive now. It’s hard to put his impact into words.”
The two are now life companions at their home in Poplar, by the Limehouse Cut. It’s a relationship that has earned Kingston a PDSA Commendation and also a nomination for the Kennel Club’s Giving Longevity Through Assistance category.
“It’s me and him against the world,” Jackie boasts. “But he has this infectious love and I don’t know what I would do without him.
“Kingston is my absolute rock—everything he does for me blows me away.”
Jackie feels “humbled” to be nominated for the award, which goes to dogs “which do some incredible work”.
The Kennel Club’s Eukanuba Friends for Life competition highlights heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have earned the title of Man’s Best Friend through bravery, support or companionship.
The contest final takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on March 12 on the final day of Crufts. For Jackie, a serving police officer at Bethnal Green in the 1980s, it’s a chance to show off Kingston’s exceptional abilities at the world’s largest dog show.