Animal magic at pet awards

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Animal-mad celebrities mingled with heroic pets and their proud owners at the pet world's answer to the Oscars yesterday as hundreds of animal lovers turned out for the 1997 WAG Awards at the Intercontinental Hotel in London.

Among the pet-struck stars present were Jilly Cooper, the best-selling novelist, who picked up the personality of the year award in recognition of her lifetime support for animal welfare; Johnny Morris, the former presenter of Animal Magic; and the Channel 4 racing presenter, John McCririck. The ceremony, hosted by Liza Goddard, and organised by animal insurers Pet Plan and the Animal Health Trust charity, paid tribute to outstanding bravery and talent among Britain's pets. Shandy, an 11-year-old golden labrador from Feltham, won the dog's award for twice saving his owner's life, and Solomon, a two-year-old British Blue cat from Dorset, took the feline prize for rescuing and protecting broods of tiny house martins whose nest had collapsed.