‘He was like a film star!’ – Thousands cheer on hero dog Bowza as he leads out Ipswich Town
- Credit: Steven Gardiner
It was truly a day to remember for the hero dog of Hadleigh as he proudly led the Blues out at their weekend clash with Reading.
Bowza, the seven-year-old Rottweiler, Labrador and Husky cross, made headlines across the country after tending to an injured woman on a freezing afternoon in Hadleigh late last year.
Now, in a landmark moment for the club, Ipswich Town have made his community hero status official – as Bowza and his owner, Don Cox, led the Blues onto the pitch at Saturday’s clash with Reading.
Mr Cox said the day was “absolutely brilliant” – although Bowza seemed to have some pre-match nerves before the big game.
“Before we got there Bowza was being a bit sick,” Mr Cox said.
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“We got him up to the box and he lay down. I had to go down to do the interview so a lady stayed with him.”
Shortly after 4pm, Mr Cox took Bowza for a little walk, which seemed to perk him up – especially with all the cuddles he got from fans.
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“We went out into the fans, who mobbed him,” Mr Cox said.
“He suddenly came alive. He was okay after that.”
He said Bowza was “like a film star” on and off the pitch – with fans everywhere asking for pictures and calling his name.
Mr Cox added that Bowza’s big moment was truly unforgettable, and he was pleased to say the hero dog of Hadleigh was on his best behaviour.
“I enjoyed it – it was a big adrenalin rush,” he said.
“All Bowza was interested in was getting the football the referee was carrying. He was totally laid back – it was like it was just a walk in the park.
“The only thing I was worrying about was him wanting to go to the toilet on the pitch. I had bags in my pocket. I think the groundsman was a bit concerned.”
Thankfully Bowza didn’t feel the need to relieve himself, and Mr Cox said the pair had a “lovely afternoon” watching from the box – although he was sorry Hadleigh’s hero wasn’t quite the good luck charm Ipswich needed on the day.
“It is a shame they lost,” he said.
“It would have been great if they had won.”
Regardless, Mr Cox said it was an “absolutely fantastic day,” and “something you remember for the rest of your life”.
“Bowza was absolutely brilliant,” he added.
Dan Palfrey, PR and marketing officer for Ipswich Town, shared Mr Cox’s enthusiasm about the big day.
“Bowza was completely unfazed,” he said.
“With over 23,000 in attendance, he was absolutely fantastic. What a great moment, he received a terrific reception too.”
Mr Cox was out walking Bowza in November last year when he stumbled across a woman with a nasty head injury lying in the middle of Meadows Way.
When he went to check if she needed help, he found the 79-year-old had collapsed in the street, banging her head and scraping her hand in the process – leaving her unable to get up, and getting colder by the second.
It was then that Mr Cox had the idea of introducing her to Bowza, who instinctively snuggled up to the injured woman to keep her warm.
Bowza lay with the elderly lady for two and a half hours while she waited for an ambulance, never once leaving her side.
The woman was taken to hospital where she had surgery for her injuries and is now fully recovered.
At the time, a spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service apologised for any distress caused, adding that “it was an extremely busy day for the trust”.