A Doncaster dog owner will cap an emotional personal journey this week when she takes to the floor at Crufts.
Zoe Davis, 33, lost her beloved Akita Inu, Seikka back in 2021 and fell into a state of despair and mental health struggles.
Davis, who also has a Labrador and a Husky, met Spooks a few weeks later and her world slowly but surely began to heal.
The pair will now compete at the world’s greatest dog show in Birmingham this week after a whirlwind year of showing.
“I first held Spooks in my arms and it felt like she had always belonged there,” said Davis.
“I couldn’t talk about Seikka in that week after I lost her but Spooks made it better as it felt like she was a gift from my old girl.
“She turned my world around by getting into showing.
“I felt very isolated during that period as it was lockdown as well and my depression and anxiety got really bad.
“Now, turning up to dog shows has given me so many new people to meet, I go out on weekends and it’s fantastic to know that we’re a team doing this.”
Davis’ bond with Seikka was unbreakable as she introduced her owner into the wonderful world of Atika’s.
The two became inseparable and often worked together at charity events to share joy to others before Seikka passed away.
Initially concerned about getting another dog so quickly, Davis immediately fell in love with full-breed Japanese Akita Inu Spooks on the first meeting and the two soon entered their first dog show.
“From the minute I saw Seikka, I just knew that she was perfect,” said Davis.
“She really introduced me into the world of Akita’s as I was working with Akita rescue at the time and as she got older, Seikka did a lot of meet and greets for charity.
“She got on with everyone and was just a role model for the breed and we just had this connection.
“She went very quickly, she was stealing my sandwich one morning and then getting put to sleep the next.
“It was like someone had ripped my heart out. Waking up every morning and she wasn’t there, it was awful.
“Spooks has helped stitch my heart back together.”
Davis and Spooks started showing just one year ago at the Doncaster Ringcraft and have since rocketed into the top ranks.
The friendly and good-natured environment has allowed the pair to thrive over the past year, leading them to a dream scenario of showing at Crufts this year.
“I always like to do things with my dogs and so I decided to show with Spooks,” said Davis.
“We went to our first show and we met so many people and some new Akita’s too and everyone was really supportive and friendly. It’s great for my mental health.
“My dream has always been to get to Crufts. The fact that we’ve not even been showing a year yet and we’re at Crufts is such an amazing feeling and it’s all thanks to Spooks.
“I’m looking forward to meeting some new people and showing what me and Spooks have managed to achieve this year.”
Crufts, run by The Kennel Club, is a unique celebration of happy, healthy dogs and of the loving relationship that they enjoy with their owners. Crufts is held from 9-12 March 2023 at the NEC Birmingham.