MOLLY the Cocker Spaniel may not have won at Crufts, but in her family’s eyes she is top dog.

The dog is a vital health alert for owner 11-year-old Steven Courtney, who has type one diabetes.

The pair were among five finalists in the prestigious Crufts Friends for Life award, which finished on Sunday night.

Steven and Molly lost out to Lucy Watts, from Essex, and her dog also called Molly.

However, the pair did not come home empty-handed.

They returned to Oxfordshire clutching a trophy and rosette and £750 for charity Medical Detection Dogs, who trained Molly and nominated the pair for the award.

Three-year-old Molly – who can identify changes in Steven’s glucose levels by smell and will alert him by licking his hand, jumping up or fetching his glucose test kit.

And even during the show, where she competed under the name Molls, she was not off duty.

Mum Serena, of Merton Road, Ambrosden, near Bicester, said: “She alerted to tell me Steven’s blood glucose was dropping as we were waiting to walk out into the main arena, gave two alerts overnight in the hotel on Saturday night and alerted us with all the noise, bustle and chaos of the stands in the main halls.

“So she has once again shown us how amazing her ability is, even under difficult circumstances with lots of distractions.”

Former teacher Mrs Courtney, 40, said Molly was a star throughout the weekend.

The Oxford Times:

Steven and Molly with their finalist rosette and trophy from Crufts

She said: “The dogs were all wonderful, with different assistance dog charities represented which was great.

“All were worthy winners, but it was down to public vote in the end.

“We hope we have raised awareness of type one diabetes as a complex and serious condition and raised the profile of the wonderful charity medical detection dogs who helped train Molly.

“It has all been a great experience and the wonderful people we have met along the way have been incredible.”

This week Medical Detection Dogs based near Milton Keynes announced that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be its patron.

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