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WINNERS 2017

Walnut

Walnut won millions of hearts around the world as the star of an inspirational social media campaign for dogs and their owners to join him on his last-ever walk.

walnut1Owner Mark Woods encouraged people on social media under #walkwithwalnut to share his final outing with Walnut on his favourite beach before the 18-year-old whippet was put down due to ill health.

Hundreds of people and pooches joined Mark and his family for an emotional and uplifting walkies on a windswept Porth in Newquay for Walnut's moving farewell.

Mark carried Walnut across the beach in Cornwall as his health has deteriorated in old age and he was no longer able to walk.

Covered in a chequered blanket to keep him warm, strangers comforted Walnut and children came over to stroke the dog as they strolled along the water's edge.

Speaking before the walk, Mark said: 'I think that all pets are special to everybody, I've got three other whippets, but there's something special about Walnut.

'He's been with me through some very difficult times in my life and he's just got me through them, both physically and mentally.

'We've shared a lot of dramas, a lot of fun and a lot of shenanigans and he's exceptionally special. Eighteen years is a long time to build up a bond of friendship. We normally walk alone on the beach of a morning.

'It just felt the right thing to do to share a walk for a change, we have the most beautiful beaches in Newquay, a lovely community here and a lot of people have dogs.'

Walnut passed away shortly after the walk, and Mark wrote on Facebook: “Walnut passed away this morning at 11.56am. The family and our three whippets, Monty, Nelson and Charlie were also in the room.

"He went very quickly and in my arms. I am writing this post because I owe it to everyone who has supported myself, my family and most importantly Walnut.

"Thank you to the hundreds of people that attended the walk this morning. God bless you all."