Buster is Voted Hero Dog of the Year Buster, a Springer Spaniel army sniffer dog, has been chosen by the British public as the Kennel Club Hero Dog of the Year for 2005. Buster beat five other special canine heroes in a BBC vote to win the prestigious award at the 'world's greatest dog show', Crufts, at the NEC, Birmingham. Handled by Danny Morgan from Aldershot, Hampshire, Buster has had a highly distinguished career with the army, having demonstrated his exceptional talents to uncover weapons in Northern Ireland and Kosovo. His finest moment came when he located a huge cache of arms, intended for use against British forces, hidden inside the wall cavity of an enemy camp in Iraq, for which he became the only dog to be awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. The Kennel Club Hero Dog of the Year award, which was held with the support of PetPartners plc, saw over 45,000 votes flood in for the six four-legged finalists via the BBC, with Buster receiving over 20,000. For the first time, this year's Crufts television coverage was shown interactively, allowing viewers to watch the nominees' stories at any time in the week prior to the show and voting took place by phone or text. Buster and Danny Morgan received their prize from Blue Peter presenter, Matt Baker, and John Spurling, Chairman of PetPartners Plc, in the Main Ring of the event, live on BBC2 prior to their coverage of the Best in Show final. Speaking on behalf of Buster, Danny Morgan expressed his delight at the award: "It means the world to me. 99% of military working dogs are rescue dogs, so for a young lad that joined the army and a rescue dog to win the first Kennel Club Hero Dog of the Year award is fantastic." The inaugural Kennel Club Hero Dog of the Year competition featured six dogs, each with their own remarkable story. Whilst only one dog could take home the trophy, all the dogs nominated were worthy of their moment in the spotlight. The other competitors were: Mandy, owned by Peter Wilson from Cockermouth, Cumbria â saved his life in a house fire. Boswell, owned by Maelea Forrester from Long Ditton, Surrey â pet dog who became a guide dog. Endal, owned by Allen Parton from Clanfield, Hampshire â provides incredible support to his disabled owner. Tyson, owned by Bob Bainbridge from Durham â saved life of owner following a brutal attack. Valentine, owned by June Beech from Wincanton, Somerset â Hearing Dog turned guardian angel. Meanwhile, there's a month still to run of the Kennel Club Art Gallery's temporary exhibition 'Dogs in War', which pays homage to the brave dogs that gave their lives or worked so tirelessly in times of conflict. Britain officially sanctioned the use of Dogs in 1916 with the opening of the War Dog Training School in Shoeburyness. The Kennel Club's Dogs in War exhibition, which runs until 15th April 2005, consists of an assortment of artefacts, including a collection of photographs from the Imperial War Museum, collars from the Dog Collar Museum at Leeds Castle, and the Dickin Medal won by Buster last year. A parachute harness, and a jacket owned by a Royal Flying Corps Officer, both designed to be worn by dogs, along with a rather gruesome explosives collar, add to the diversity of the exhibition. All of these artefacts highlight the vital role dogs have played during times of war and civil unrest. The exhibition is an exciting and evocative display, located within the splendour of the Kennel Club's own Art Gallery. Visitors to the exhibition can only stop to reflect on how man's best friend has stood by his master through thick and thin, often risking his life in the process.