Meet Mae the Border Collie who's been named Wales' Most Loyal Pet

  • Article and video report by ITV Cymru Wales journalist Kelsey Redmore

10-year-old Border Collie Mae has won Wales' Most Loyal Pet competition with the animal charity Blue Cross for the ways in which she's helped her owner during the coronavirus pandemic.

The competition by the animal charity was to highlight the positive impact pets have on people's mental health and wellbeing, particularly during the last year with Wales' lockdowns and restrictions to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Mae was rescued by owner Helen Jones many years ago and soon loved taking part in agility courses, competing in local competitions and taking part for fun.

Her owner Helen says Mae has always loved to put a smile on people's faces and would love to visit care homes and schools in Brecon as a therapy dog. But, when the pandemic hit, the visits stopped.

Credit: Helen Jones

Helen sadly lost her mum to Alzheimer's in the first week of lockdown, making it an even more difficult time for her and her family.

Helen said: "It was very hard because I was very close to my Mum. When you lose your best friend which Mum was, and then with everything else going on around us, it was really hard to cope.

"I couldn’t have done it without Mae. I live on my own – but having her has saved me."

Helen was allowed to take Mae to her mum's funeral and says she 'hugged her' through the whole service and the journey there and back again.

Credit: Helen Jones

Helen entered Mae into the competition to recognise all the support she's had from her.

And was surprised to hear that she'd won.

Helen said: "I cried. I mean, I know there would have been so many wonderful entries, every dog is a therapy dog - they are, and every dog is the best dog, and I didn't expect to win, to be quite honest, but even if we hadn't she still would've been the most loyal pet to me."

As the winner of the competition, Mae will receive a subscription for some personalised pet boxes and vouchers.

But owner Helen has decided to donate the prize to Many Tears Animal Rescue in Llanelli as Mae already has plenty of treats and toys at home.

Credit: Helen Jones

Rugby referee Nigel Owens was on the judging panel for the competition, along with myself.

For me, it's been clear to see how people's pets really have played a huge part in helping them with their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

Georgie Riley from Blue Cross said: "We know it's been difficult for lots of people over the lockdown. People have faced increased mental health problems and loneliness over this period.

"We've observed so many heartwarming stories about how pets have helped their owners. People often say to us, "Oh, I rescued my pet, but really they rescued me" and it's so nice to hear things like that, it just shows how important our pets are to us."

Credit: Helen Jones

Helen said: "I don't know if I could have got through it without her, I really don't. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. She is an absolute sweetie."

Mae enjoys spending her time having cuddles and running around the garden with Helen's other dogs Bonnie and Merlin.

And she's taking it all in her stride as Wales' Most Loyal Pet.