Ashleigh Butler: When Pudsey died I saw my dad cry for the first time

Former Britain’s Got Talent winner reveals how emotional her father got

Former Britain’s Got Talent winner Ashleigh Butler has told how she saw her father cry for the first time following the death of her beloved pet, Pudsey.

The dog-and-owner duo stunned the nation when they brought their tricks and routines to the stage in 2012, winning the ITV talent contest.

But 11-year-old Pudsey – a border collie, bichon frise and Chinese crested cross – died suddenly earlier this year following a leukaemia diagnosis.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Monday, Ashleigh said: “It was the first time I had ever seen my dad cry, and he isn’t a major dog person. So it just goes to show how much he meant to us.”

She brought with her to the sofa her other dog, Sully, who she has had for four years and has trained up to replace Pudsey at shows.

Remembering Sully and Pudsey’s relationship, she said: “They were like brothers. Sully was affected by Pudsey’s death … he wasn’t right after he went.”

She also admitted she had named her second dog after the fluffy blue protagonist of animation movie, Monsters, Inc.

But while Ashleigh and Sully delighted early morning viewers, some hit out at presenter Piers Morgan for joining in by apparently feeding Sully a chocolate.

While co-star Susanna Reid – who’s expressed her admiration for Piers’ wife for putting up with him – told him off for the choice of treat, one viewer commented on Twitter: “Yet again Piers is making it all about him. I would have been so annoyed if I was Ashleigh, he barely let her talk then tried to feed the poor dog a chocolate instead of using a dog treat. #notimpressed.”

Another responded: “Dogs aren’t allowed chocolates! It is poisonous to them! I hope Sully wasn’t really eating it.”

Ashleigh appeared on the show shortly after Pudsey’s death and assured fans: “I can’t change (Sully) into Pudsey.”

She and Sully have begun rehearsals for upcoming panto performances.