A HIGHLAND dog lover has told of her pride that her autistic son and their Crufts award-winning dog – which was rescued from the illegal meat trade in Thailand – are set to become ambassadors for the cause.
Amanda Leask fought back tears as her crossbreed Miracle was chosen as the Eukanuba Friends For Life winner at the dog show, after the story of his rescue and special connection with Kyle (6) was told.
Now, after a whirlwind of attention from national and international press for the trio, Miracle and Kyle are to become ambassadors for Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, who rescue and rehome dogs destined to be tortured to death and eaten by humans.
Their story will be told to potential dog adopters around the world to show how a dog can be a loving family pet, despite having a traumatic background.
Amanda, from Strathglass, told of the chilling nature of the trade and how proud she was of Miracle and Kyle, who also has cerebral palsy, for helping raise awareness.
She said: "I’ve had reports back that people in Vietnam and Thailand are going crazy for this story.
"People don’t realise what actually goes on, it’s not that they just kill dogs then eat them, they torture them.
"Think of the worst possible torture, then triple it – that’s what they do because they believe the more suffering the dog has gone through, the better the meat tastes.
"They blowtorch them from the outside in and leave them lying there, it really is gruesome.
"Most of the dogs rescued by Soi get rehomed in the US – Miracle and Kyle have raised a lot of awareness so something good has come from it already.
"Many celebrities have spoken out about the meat trade, including Ricky Gervais and Judi Dench, we just want to get as many people on board as we can."
Amanda has four Thai dogs. Three, including Miracle, were rescued from the meat trade and she has been campaigning for the cause for three years.
She was shocked to see Miracle pick up the prize at the Birmingham show, but felt it was a special moment for her two little fighters.
She said: "I was stunned – just blown away. I totally didn’t expect us to win.
"I thought he had a good chance but I had it in my head that we weren’t going to win.
"It’s fantastic that it’s bringing attention to the cause across the world.
"If you know dogs at all, ones that have come from a troubled background often seek to spend time with children.
"Autistic children struggle to communicate, and can sometimes get more from an animal than they do from an adult.
"There’s just this special connection between them that I can’t explain.
"Miracle seeks out Kyle, and seems to know when he needs him.
"Kyle gets frustrated because he can’t communicate with words, and Miracle just seems to know when he’s getting agitated and goes to him.
"What’s lovely about this is that both of them are little fighters, real survivors, and they look out for each other."