A CREDITON dog which has helped owner Karla Gregory deal with her social anxiety issues has been nominated for the prestige Friends for Life competition at Crufts 2014.

Karla nominated her dog, Elvis, for the competition, which seeks to find stories of outstanding bravery and devotion to their owners.

She took in Elvis, a threeyear- old Lhasa Apso, after two previous owners had struggled to deal with a skin condition that he suffers from.

But Karla has taken on the challenge and the dog has, in turn, proved to be life-changing for the grooming salon owner, who was struggling with social anxiety at the time.

Karla opened her business, Groomed to Pawfection, in Crediton just a month before she met Elvis and he has also had a great effect on both employees and customers.

“He has been lifechanging to me – I was in a really, really bad place,”

she said. “Because he needed me, it gave me a focus.

“Straight away he would pick up if I am down and he would cuddle into me, but he will also force me to go out at times. He is quite a character.

“There were a lot of times when I wanted to kill myself and he would just nudge me with his nose and it was enough for me, to say ‘Don’t go, mum – I really need you’.

“Other dogs which come in the grooming salon, if they are nervous he can calm them down as well.

He is a little person inside there, with a big personality.

“A lot of people describe him as not a dog – my friend says he is a little human inside. When he has got something to say he has lots of different tones.

“He has got this real personality about him, but he is really good at sulking as well.”

The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, will announce a shortlist on February 18 of the five dogs that will go into the Friends for Life final. The public will then vote for which of the five dogs has the most truly deserving tale.

The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 9, in the Main Arena alongside thousands of happy, healthy dogs at Birmingham’s NEC, with the trophy presented by Chris Amoo, dog lover and ’70s pop sensation with the band The Real Thing.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “People have sent us such moving and inspirational stories that truly demonstrate how important dogs are to our lives and what a difference they make to us, both in our best times and when things are tough.

“Karla and Elvis are thoroughly deserving of this nomination and the Kennel Club wishes them luck in the Friends for Life competition.