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Endal, wearing his PDSA Gold Medal
BreedLabrador retriever
Born(1995-12-13)13 December 1995
Died13 March 2009(2009-03-13) (aged 13)
Resting placeIlford PDSA Animal Cemetery,
Nation fromBritish
OccupationService dog
SuccessorEndal Junior
OwnerAllen Parton
Sandra Parton

Endal (13 December 1995 – 13 March 2009) was a male Labrador Retriever in Britain whose abilities as a service dog and as an ambassador for service dog charitable work received worldwide news media coverage.

Among other distinctions, Endal was described as "the most decorated dog in the world" (including "Dog of the Millennium" and the PDSA Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty, the highest award available to an animal)[1] and possibly the most famous assistance dog in the UK.[2] He was filmed by over 340 film crews from around the world,[3][4][5] and had a number of world "firsts" as an assistance dog to his credit.



Endal was a pedigree yellow Labrador Retriever. From birth Endal had the lifelong debilitating joint condition osteochondrosis in both of his front legs,[6][7] which brought his suitability for assistance dog training into question. However, due to Endal's intelligence and problem-solving abilities he qualified as a fully operational and accredited assistance dog although he was only part trained by the charity Canine Partners for Independence.

He became the service dog for disabled ex-Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Allen Parton[8] in the late 1990s.[9][10]

Endal's fame led to his taking on the role of an animal ambassador for service dog-related training and charities.

On 13 March 2009, age thirteen and days after his last Crufts appearance,[11] Endal had to be put down[12] as his age had finally caught up to him. He had had a stroke, and his arthritis had become severe over time.[11] Endal is buried at Ilford PDSA Animal Cemetery, which is also the resting place for twelve previous dogs awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, predecessor to the gold medal.[13] A yellow Labrador puppy named EJ (Endal Junior) was in training at the time, whom Endal mentored during his final 9 months.

Allen Parton[edit]

Endal's owner was Allen Parton. Parton sustained serious head injuries whilst serving with the Royal Navy in the Gulf in 1991, including 50% memory loss and inability to reliably make new memories for more than around 2 days (for example, not recognising his neighbour of 7 years), physical disability (he was a wheelchair user), speech and word difficulties, inability to perceive materials that are out of his sight, and inability to safely judge speed and distance of traffic.[14] For a considerable time after partnering with Endal, he was unable to speak and was limited to basic sign language. In 2008, commenting on a portrait of Endal, Parton said that one of his greatest fears was that, in 10 years, he would be unable to remember what Endal looked like.[15] In February 2010, Parton registered a new charity, named Hounds for Heroes, in memory of Endal and to help men and women who have been injured in the UK Armed Forces and Emergency Services.[16]

Work as a service dog[edit]

Endal was able to respond to over one hundred instructions[17] as well as a very large number ("hundreds") of signed commands.[18] He could retrieve items from supermarket shelves,[19] operate buttons and switches, and load and empty a washing machine.[20] He was able to put a card into a cash machine, retrieve the card when the process was complete, and return the card to a wallet.[21]

"When I couldn't talk, he learned sign language – if I touched my head I wanted my hat, if I touched my face it was for the razor. He learned hundreds of commands in signing. Eventually one day, in this very silent world we lived in, I grunted. That was like an electric shock going through him, he was so excited. They said I'd never speak again, but Endal just dragged the speech out of me." - Able Magazine[18]

The above Able Magazine article continues on: "Over the years, Endal has learned to pull the plug out of the bath before going for help if Parton falls unconscious whilst bathing, and is able to put Parton in the recovery position, hit the emergency button on the telephone and summon help... Endal has learned how to use both chip and PIN ATMs as well as helping out with shopping, opening train doors, operating lifts, unloading the washing machine and more typical doggie skills like getting the paper."[18]

Parton states that Endal's ability to comprehend his wishes and needs showed when they first met, and was responsible for helping him recover from the initial deep depression and trauma caused by his disability.[1]

Endal came again to national attention in a 2001 incident, when Parton was knocked out of his wheelchair by a passing car outside a hotel. Endal pulled Parton into the recovery position, retrieved his mobile phone from beneath the car, retrieved a blanket from the upturned wheelchair and covered him, alert barked at a nearby hotel for assistance with no result, and then ran to the hotel to obtain help.[22] Endal is also:

  • The first dog to ride on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel.[23]
  • The first dog known to be able to operate an ATM card, including both card insertion and card removal.[24][full citation needed]


Year Awards[1]
  • 2000 Prodog "Dog of the Year" Award
  • 2000 "Dog of the Millennium" (named by Dogs Today)
  • 2001 "Local Hero" Award
  • 2001/2 "Assistance Dog of the Year" Award
  • 2002 awarded the first ever "Lifetime Achievement" Award at the Golden Bone Awards
  • 2002 first assistance dog to be awarded the UK Kennel Club's "Gold Good Citizen" award, presented at Crufts dog show 2002
  • 2002 PDSA Gold Medal (the animal equivalent of the George Cross), awarded to animals who have shown outstanding devotion to their duties in peacetime (As of October 2010 only 18 animals in the UK—all dogs—had been awarded this medal)
  • Gold Blue Peter Badge,[7][18] the highest award for "outstanding bravery and courage," one of only two ever awarded to dogs (the other was the Blue Peter dog "Bonnie" in 1991)
  • 2004 "Lifetime Achievement Award" (Wag and Bone Show)
  • 2005 Crufts dog show Runner up "Hero Dog of the Year"

Other recognition[edit]

Dogs with Jobs, a Canadian TV series and in a book about that series, covered Endal.[25] Endal appeared in the Sky real Lives documentary "The Dog that saved our marriage", transmitted on 12 March 2009.[26] Endal appeared in the ITV documentary "The Secret Life of Dogs" transmitted on British ITV.[27] He also appeared on National Geographic.[28]

The Endal awards have been created to honour his loyalty and devotion to duty in the form of a medal, and these are issued at an annual award ceremony held at the London Pet Show.[29][30] A road in Clanfield, Hampshire, in England has been named "Endal Way" in memory of Endal.[31]

Work as an ambassador for service dog charitable work[edit]

As a trustee of the charity Canine Partners, Endal's owner and handler Allen Parton[32] publicised the skilled training which is needed for assistance dogs by using the story of Endal as an example. Parton and Endal were both patrons of Labrador Rescue South East and Central.[33]

According to a description of Endal by Parton at makeyourdogahero.co.uk:

"Another more private role is Endal's work with autistic and terminally ill children. Endal has represented the charity Canine Partners, is a patron of Labrador Rescue,[34] an advisor to Dog Theft Action.[35] He has been used to promote many issues to do with animal welfare and has also helped raise funds for many of the service charities such as SSAFA, the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, British Legion and Seafarers UK."[36] organisation.

Endal book[edit]

A paperback book entitled Endal published by HarperCollins was released on 9 February 2009 and went straight to Number 1 in the UK Paperback best sellers list.[citation needed]

Endal the Movie[edit]

A film of Endal's life story, based around the Endal book, was announced on 1 September 2009.[37][38][39]

Other personality attributes[edit]

Parton reports that alongside Endal's working life and training, he retained during his life a number of the mischievous traits that Labradors are known for. As examples he cites that Endal would still decide at times to chase squirrels in the park, or might take waste paper out of the rubbish bin to Parton, in order to gain a reward for "picking it up from the floor".[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Endal, December 2006". Illinois Springer Spaniel Rescue. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2007. The trophy cabinet at their family home in Hampshire would be the envy of most football club managers and houses an impressive list of awards including Dog of the Millennium and the PDSA's Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry and Devotion to Duty. It is true to say that Endal, who can even count the Queen as one of his devotees, is probably the most decorated dog in the world.
  2. ^ "Endal visits Harrods UK". Petplanet.co.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Sussex Express, 16 March 2009". Sussexexpress.co.uk. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  4. ^ Our Dogs Publishing. "Our Dogs Newspaper - News, breeders, showdogs, dog breeds, pedigree show dogs, canine clubs, web design, website uk". Ourdogs.co.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  5. ^ "About Us". Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  6. ^ K9 Perspective Magazine (2007). "Canine Partner Endal opens Sussex Canine Rehabilitation Centre". issue 33, p. 5. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Sussex Canine Center and other topics". Labrador Rescue South East and Central. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2007. - these badges, although issued by a television show, are seen as a significant and notable accolade in the UK.
  8. ^ "Gulf War veteran Allen Parton". Milleniumdog.freeserve.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 February 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  9. ^ Sally Pook (14 August 2003). "After 100 years labrador is top dog". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 3 September 2003. Retrieved 19 September 2007. Confirming its reputation as the archetypal man's best friend, a labrador named Endal was voted dog of the millennium by Dogs Today magazine for helping Allen Parton after the Royal Navy sailor was injured during the first Gulf war. Endal can carry out 100 tasks to order, including withdrawing money from a cash machine and switching off lights.
  10. ^ Disabled Persons Railcard (7 April 2007). "Rail Travel is a Piece of Cake". The Disabled Person's Railcard website. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Allen is a regular traveller on South West Trains and Endal ably assists from the word go in his journeys by pushing the button to get on the train. He makes regular trips to London and Leeds for the charity, Canine Partners, and has recently been travelling a lot whilst making a film about his life. The pair then settle back in air conditioned comfort and proceed to make friends up the length and breadth of the country on their travels, which are considerable since the pair's celebrity begun to grow a few years ago.
  11. ^ a b Chichester Observer 16 March 2009.
  12. ^ "Owner's tribute to 'wonder-dog'". BBC News. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  13. ^ Marcus, Dawn (2 September 2009). "What's Endal Junior Doing?". Fit as Fido. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  14. ^ "'Endal' - The Millennium Dog". March 2001. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Labrador Rescue's Patron Immortalised". Archived from the original on 26 February 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  16. ^ "Hounds for Heroes".
  17. ^ "Canine Partners". South West Trains e-motion magazine. September–October 2004. Archived from the original on 11 January 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  18. ^ a b c d Able Magazine (2007). "An Unstoppable Partnership". {{cite web}}: External link in |author= (help)[dead link]
  19. ^ "Owner saved by wonder-dog". BBC News. 13 November 2002. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  20. ^ Allen Parton (March 2001). "Endal: The Millennium Dog". pedigreedogs.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007.
  21. ^ Rosie Murray-West (15 February 2006). "Labrador has got the technology licked". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  22. ^ "Hero dog to the rescue". Petersfield Herald. 4 June 2001. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007. The pair have appeared on television all over the country demonstrating how specially trained dogs can help profoundly disabled people. This week, as they recovered from their ordeal at the Steep home of Canine Partners for Independence, the group who trained Endal, Allen praised his four legged companion: "We've given so many demonstrations on how Endal should go into action if I fall out of my wheelchair but last Thursday Endal did it for real." ...Endal was voted Dog of the Millennium by Dogs Today readers and Beta Pet Foods, Dog of the Year by the charities Pro Dogs and Pets As Therapy, and was the first ever winner of the Golden Bonio Award.
  23. ^ K9 Perspective Magazine (2006). "TV crew making film of partners' year". Issue 27, p. 10. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007. As the filming of the Endal movie now proceeds apace, significant parts of the filming will involve Endal visiting past milestones such as when he was the first ever dog to fly on the British Airways London Eye.
  24. ^ "Endal, December 2006". Illinois Springer Spaniel Rescue. February 2013. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007. Most recently Endal, as observed by some of the biggest national newspapers in 2006, has learned how to put the card into the machine and remove it after the transaction which Allen is proud to reveal makes him the first dog in the world to achieve this remarkable feat.
  25. ^ Kachanoff, Kim; Weisbord, Merrily (2000). Dogs with Jobs. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-04735-3.
  26. ^ "Goodbye Endal". ourdogs.co.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Secret Life of Dogs Episode 1". Itv.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  28. ^ "Endal: The Amazing Assistance Dog | National Geographic Channel". Channel.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  29. ^ "The Endals for Heroes". Dogs Today Magazine. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  30. ^ "London Pet Show 2014 - The Endal Awards – meet the remarkable 2013 winners!". Londonpetshow.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Street named in honour of 'wonder dog'". The News. Portsmouth. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  32. ^ "History of Canine Partners: Opening Doors to Independence". Canine Partners UK, founded in 1988. Archived from the original on 16 March 2007.
  33. ^ Labrador Rescue South East and Central Archived 19 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ "lrsec.org.uk". lrsec.org.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  35. ^ "dogtheftaction.com". dogtheftaction.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  36. ^ Firehouse Dog (film) website (2007). "Endal, Yellow Labrador 11 years old". makeyourdogahero.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007.
  37. ^ "Hero dog's tale to become a film". BBC News. 2 September 2009.
  38. ^ Cockcroft, Lucy (2 September 2009). "Story of 'hero' Gulf War dog to be made into a film". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  39. ^ "Hero dog has his day as Hollywood comes calling - Portsmouth News". Portsmouth.co.uk. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  40. ^ "Endal". Dogpage.ision.co.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2014.

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