Abandoned mongrel pup Becky wins Crufts award

media captionMervyn Jess went along to meet Northern Ireland's latest celebrity

An abandoned dog, found in a sack on a Northern Ireland riverbank, has claimed a top award at Crufts.

Becky was a six-week-old pup when she was saved by passers-by, seven years ago.

She was adopted by retired teacher Margaret McKnight and at the weekend was picked by former Eastenders actress Pam St Clement as the champion mongrel.

The Scruffts awards have been going for 12 years but this is the first time they have been part of Crufts.

Margaret, from Bangor, County Down, told how the dog had been saved from extinction.

"A litter sack was dumped in the towpath near Lisburn and a couple of ladies saw the gentleman leaving the sack and they went over and lifted it," she said. "The rest is history.

"Assisi animal sanctuary got them all homed and I got the only blonde in the litter, which turned out to be Becky.

"I had her DNA taken a few years ago and she really is a mongrel of mongrels.

"She has a lovely personality and she is a really friendly dog.

"She is a 'pets-as-therapy' dog so she is used to meeting and greeting people.

"We have dogs in the charity who would go into nursing homes, units for people with Alzheimer's or special schools, all sorts of places where you don't normally have a dog."

Margaret also paid tribute to the Kennel Club for introducing the new category for mongrels to the competition.

"This is new, but it is wonderful that they have acknowledged this wonderful variety of dogs that are out there and that make super pets," she added.

"They might not have the breeding but they certainly have the temperament and the good looks."