A CAVALIER King Charles spaniel from Dorset called Daisy, who spends her time visiting elderly and ill people across the county and being read to by primary school children has been shortlisted for a national award at Crufts.

The Crufts countdown has begun, and for Daisy, from Gillingham, and her owner Barbara Borwell, it couldn’t be a more exciting time.

Daisy, a Pets As Therapy (PAT) Dog, has been shortlisted as one of six finalists in a national competition to find the HiLife PAT Dog of the Year for 2017.

The winner of the competition will be revealed at Crufts on Friday, March 10 at the NEC in Birmingham, and Daisy has her paws crossed she will win the prestigious title.

Daisy visits three primary schools each week as part of the Pets As Therapy Read2Dogs scheme. She also visits the local hospital, Westminster Memorial in Shaftesbury, which includes the Weldmar Hospice.

If this wasn’t enough, Daisy visits Fives Court Residential Care Home, where she has recently received ‘The Order of St John Care Trust’ appreciation award.

Owner Mrs Borwell said: “One of the schools that Daisy visits recognise her as a teacher and a dedicated member of staff, she is often referred to as a ‘member of the school and of the family’.

“It is the most rewarding and privileged job to be involved in. I get to share my pet, that I am so lucky to have in my life, with others less fortunate.

"She brings joy and pleasure to everyone she meets, sometimes making real positive emotional and behavioural changes to their lives.”

Daisy and the other five finalists will proudly parade around the show arena soaking up the glory as their achievements are revealed to the crowd, before the top dog is announced as the winner of a cheque for £500 and a three-month supply of HiLife goodies.

Marketing director for HiLife, Peter Parkinson, said: “We have worked with PAT Dog for more than 10 years and every year we continue to be amazed by the work of the finalists. They improve the lives of so many who are going through tough times or illness.

"Working with this charity is a pleasure, and we love hearing their stories, they never fail to brighten up our day.”

Daisy is set for a busy day as she prepares for the show.

Barbara said: "Daisy will get a wash in some special shampoo the night before. She has visited Crufts previously, so the occasion will be taken in her stride with some liver-cake treats."

For more information about the charity, visit petsastherapy.org