A dog who has transformed the life of a disabled girl has been nominated for a Crufts award for heroic dogs.

Assistance dog 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, attends mainstream school and said 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.

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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.”

Velvet is one of five hero dogs who have been nominated for honours at Crufts, the world’s most famous dog show.

Others include Molls, a cocker spaniel, who was initially only the family’s pet until Steven Courtney noticed she showed an interest when he was hypo after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of three.

Now Molls is trained to detect when Steven’s blood sugar levels rise or fall because the family contacted the Medical Detection Dog charity to train her.

Steven’s mother, Serena Courtney, 40, said the family heard about their work after a talk at their dog training club at the end of 2010 and decided to seek training for Molls to support Steven.

Also on the shortlist is Radley, a guide dog, who helped a former lance corporal find love and become a father.

Konrad Galen-Bisping did not want to leave his home after being attacked with a pick-axe to his head during training for Iraq more than 10 years ago.

The soldier from Wales, was blinded by the assault committed by a fellow soldier.

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