A kind-hearted Border Collie and his proud owner are counting down the days to their appearance at the world’s biggest dog show.
Nine-year-old Chief was named as one of just six finalists in the Pets As Therapy dog of the year category at Crufts.
Chief and his owner, Christine Hughes, of Rainford, are part of a friendly team of dogs and owners that regularly volunteer their time to provide therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, care homes and schools.
Christine said: “Chief is the calmest, most placid dog you could wish to meet. He has a great look about him, with kind eyes that seem to calm those around him and make them feel comfortable. He loves people and likes to be the centre of attention, making everyone smile.
“I’ve told everyone about his achievement and they think he’d make a fitting winner. He’s fantastic, a lovely dog. Those he meets think the world of him.”
Chief and Christine are set to take centre stage at Birmingham’s NEC on Friday, March 6.
On the day, they are set to parade around the arena in front of a packed audience, before a winner is chosen.
The winner of the title will be awarded a cheque for £500 and three months’ supply of dog food courtesy of award sponsor HiLife.
Christine added: “We’re excited, proud and nervous. Our routine will continue as normal until the week before the show, which we will take off to relax and prepare. I always take great pride in Chief’s appearance when on duty, so we will continue with our usual regime of coat brushing and teeth cleaning, so he looks his best and his breath smells fresh!”
Pets As Therapy is an independently funded charity with more than 5,000 volunteers, helping bring comfort, smiles and friendship to thousands.
HiLife marketing director, Peter Parkinson, said: “The commitment and dedication of the dogs and owners is awe-inspiring. I’m sure they will receive a warm welcome at Crufts as they all arrive with moving stories to share. The light they shine on other people’s lives makes them all winners in our eyes.”