The Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year
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The Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year

'Assistance Dogs and Dog Charities' category winner: Angelika Elendt, Germany

Title of image: ‘Soul comforter’

Dog: Lilly, cross breed and rescued dog

About this photo: With my photography I am supporting as a volunteer the animal welfare association “Die Seelentröster – Tiere helfen Menschen e. ” (The soul comforters – Animals help people), who works tirelessly for animals in need. An essential part of their engagement is also the animal-assisted work. Their four-legged protégés play an important role at healing processes in young and old peoples with mental, emotional and/or physical disabilities and sometimes cause true miracles.

The picture was taken during the club's work with some assistance dogs, trained for animal-assisted interventions, in a retirement home. Whenever I looked at this old lady suffering on depression and dementia she was completely apathetic and seemed to be captured in her own world. Towards the end of the visit, Lilly was put on her lap and suddenly the lady woke up from her lethargy: She started stroking the little dog and bent her head down to it. Whereupon Lilly raised her head and pressed it to her cheek for a little while – a very touching and heartfelt moment which I managed to capture in my picture.

Lilly managed to get through to this old lady, who was beforehand always experienced as lethargic and utterly disinterested in social interactions. This once again shows the very special connection between dogs and human beings.

Technical specification: Canon EOS 5D Mark III; Aperture: f/4.5; ISO Speed: 500; Focal length: 200mm; Exposure program: Manual Exposure; Time: 1/800 sec; Flash: No

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