AN assistance dog who helps support a Yorkshire schoolgirl is among five animals nominated for the Crufts award for heroic dogs.
Velvet supports Lottie Wilcocks to be independent and boosts her self-confidence.
Lottie, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, can only get around in a wheelchair but the aspiring Paralympic athlete has not let that stop her go far in training to race.
The 12-year-old from Ripponden, West Yorkshire, attends mainstream school and described how Velvet, a black labrador, helps her with day-to-day tasks.
“Velvet will fetch the phone if I need to call for help, she gets my socks and she helps me get undressed,” she said.
The schoolgirl who will be taking part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon on April 13 added: “She also keeps me company and gives me cuddles.
“Velvet is my best friend and I can’t imagine life without her.
“She gives me the confidence to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do without her.”
The award will be presented on Sunday March 9, the final night of Crufts, which is being held at Birmingham NEC, which will be shown on Channel 4.