A FORMER Kirkby man, his wife and their two dogs are hoping for success as they gear up year’s Crufts competition.
Byron and Sue Harvey, along with their two dogs Max and Ziggy, will be crossing their fingers and paws on Sunday, hoping to win the prestigious Friends For Life category, awarded on the last night of Crufts.
Max and Ziggy have been nominated for the award, which celebrates the strength of man’s friendship with dogs, because the help and support they have given to their disabled owners.
Byron, who has been in a wheelchair since childhood due to polio, sadly lost his childhood sweetheart and wife Jill a decade ago.
But thanks to Dogs for the Disabled and his previous helper dog Isis, he was able to meet Sue Mcarthy, whose previous dog Inka was Isis’ twin sister.
When Inka died Sue was distraught - but through the charity both Sue and Byron were able to get new helpers Max and Ziggy even embarked on a relationship themselves which eventually led to marriage in 2008.
“We are now such a close knit family,” says Byron who now lives in Thame in Oxfordshire with Sue, Max, Ziggy and Isis, who is now retired.
As well as being a constant support to their owners, Max and Ziggy help out with practical tasks such as loading and unloading the dishwasher, opening and closing doors, carrying letters and remote controls.
Describing their contribution, Sue said: “They are not pets, they are solid working dogs and we need them.”
The winner of the Friends for Life competition will be presented with a £1,500 prize to give to a charity of their choice.
Byron and Sue say that if they win in this category they will donate the money to Dogs for the Disabled.
To vote for Sue, Byron, Max and Ziggy in the Friends for Life category call 0844 646 0202.
Voting closes at 6.30pm on Sunday.
For more details on the annual show, which takes place in Birmingham, visit www.channel4.com/crufts.