By BRIAN MOORE
THE annual Nose of Tralee is about to get underway and Freya the shihtzu from Clonakilty is ready to proudly represent her county.
The competition, now in its third year, is all about celebrating the love and companionship that pets of all shapes and sizes share with those lucky enough to own them. Freya was nominatied by her owner Sarah Clifford who explained that Freya is much more than just a pretty face.
‘Freya amazes me everyday. I became disabled after an accident which left me on life support and in full organ failure,’ Sarah told The Southern Star. ‘I was on a life support machine for a month and when I woke up I was paralysed in my left leg. When I got home, after six months in hospital, I was lonely and decided to get a dog. I decided to get a shihtzu after lengthy discussions with people who knew dogs. So I got Freya shortly after, and the moment I saw her our bond was sealed.’
Sarah initally wanted to home a resuce dog but due to the nature of her injuries and her disability, this dream was not to be. ‘There were very few rescue breeds suitable for me to home for various reasons so my hopes of adopting a rescue dog were dashed. Freya, who is completely untrained, (as a service dog) quickly became my service dog,’ Sarah continued. ‘Freya protects me and my health in every way possible. She barks to alarm neighbours if I’m in danger, or she wakes me at night if I’m in pain. Freya licks my paralysed side when it’s sore and she has learned how to use my emergency call bell if I fall.’
While Freya’s support for Sarah’s disablilities is beyond praise, Sarah says that it is her little dog’s everyday companionship that she could not imagine life without.
‘Most of all, Freya has saved me from the depression that inevitably comes with becoming wheelchair bound at 28. What I love most about my girl is her amazing personality, out of every dog I’ve had she has been my saviour and Freya has gotten me through my near death experience and helped me to live with my disability. While I didn’t rescue her, Freya rescued me. Freya has been a godsend and there is nothing in life I’m more grateful for,’ Sarah said.
The Nose of Tralee competition is organised by Petsitters Ireland and is open to pets across all 32 counties. Voting in this year’s competition is now open and you can support Freya and Sarah by logging on to www.noseoftralee.com. The winner will be annouced on Monday, August 22nd.