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17thJuly 2013

Local pets find stardom in national television advert with Petplan

A Chinese street dog called Matilda, a Beagle and Harley called Izzy and a mini lop rabbit called Harlequin, all from Edinburgh, have won a nationwide competition to feature alongside 39 other pets in a national television advert for pet insurer, Petplan. Matilda, Izzy and Harlequin were three of 29,000 fame hungry fidos, felines and flopsys who went head-to-head to win a starring role in the brand’s first ever ‘user-generated’ television advert.

Matilda had a troubled start in life after being caught up in the Sichuan earthquake in China back in 2008. Many of the dogs involved in the earthquake were culled due to fears of disease spreading. Luckily Matilda was found by the charity Animals Asia and was one of the many dogs the charity vaccinated to prevent from being culled. When Matilda arrived at the charity rescue centre she was dehydrated and close to death. Matilda’s new owner, veterinary surgeon Heather Bacon took Matilda under her wing and with good food, medication and nursing care, her health improved. Two years later and after a period in quarantine, Matilda received her pet passport allowing her to travel back to the UK to live with Heather permanently. Despite her tough start in life Matilda is loving life in the UK and particularly enjoys chasing squirrels and rabbits. Talking of Matilda’s winning photo, Heather says: “This image of Matilda was one of the first photos taken after she had recovered and started to look like a ‘real’ dog.”

Matilda, Izzy and Harley have found fame after their owners submitted their photographs to Petplan UK’s Facebook page in February. They were then chosen as four of the 100 finalists by an independent panel of judges before being selected as four of the winners by public vote on the Petplan Facebook page.

Isabella Von Mesterhazy, Petplan’s Head of Marketing, said “At Petplan we pride ourselves on being ‘pet people’ and as a nation of known animal lovers, what better way to celebrate this than give real pets the chance to star in our TV ad. This competition captured genuine emotion and sentiment amongst pet owners and the final ad will evoke the same feelings when viewed.”

Their image’s will feature alongside the voice of Ben Miller from comedy double act Armstrong and Miller in a one-off television advert to be aired nationwide on primetime TV on Wednesday 17th July. To see their starring moment, tune into the TV programme the Zoo on ITV between 8pm-9pm. But if you do miss your local pet star’s moment of fame, don’t worry, you can also watch the advert on the Petplan website: www.petplan.co.uk and the Petplan UK Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PetplanUK.

Notes to editors

Established over 35 years ago, Petplan is the UK's number one pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits. Petplan, is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.