Shropshire firefighters who worked tirelessly to free a dog trapped down a rabbit hole were named as finalists in the national Dogs Trust Honours 2011.
Using shovels and listening equipment designed to rescue people trapped in collapsed buildings, firefighters eventually got Cookie out in a rescue which took three hours.
Now in its fourth year, Dogs Trust Honours is the awards ceremony that celebrates the relationship between man and dog.
The public put forward a record number of nominations with five making it to the final for the Dog’s Best Friend category. A celebrity judging panel including Graham Norton, Clare Balding and Nicky Campbell chose the overall winner.
Judges heard that Red Watch at Shrewsbury and Wellington stations along with colleagues from Market Drayton had made “outstanding” efforts taking it in turnS to dig for three hours to rescue the trapped dog which had vanished down a rabbit hole on a walk with its owner.
The rescue has been recreated by BBC Real Rescues which will be shown on national TV in the Summer.
“I know it was a very close call and there's no denying that their actions were truly heroic and that they certainly are Dogs’ Best Friends in our eyes,” said a Dogs Trust spokesman.
Area Manager John Das Gupta of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Ten of our firefighters spent more than three hours of backbreaking work digging out Cookie when she disappeared down the rabbit hole. She had been stuck underground for more than three hours when the team arrived on site. They used listening equipment to locate her before digging in with spades to save her.”