The shock of being told your three-year-old son has leukaemia is hard to take for any family, but for Becky Gage and young Ollie, there was a faithful four-legged friend already on standby to ease the pain.

Four-year-old cockapoo Snoopy was just a puppy when he was adopted by the Gage family, from Banbury in Oxfordshire, with Ollie finally getting the dog he had begged him mum for during his early years.

However, shortly after, Ollie was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia and has undergone extensive treatment since.

Playful Snoopy has been the perfect friend throughout – and now the pair have been chosen as the Child’s Hero finalist of this year’s Friends for Life competition, organised by the Kennel Club.

As Becky explains, the bouncing black and white cross-breed has had an incredible influence on now seven-year-old Ollie’s life.

“Ollie’s been in isolation for three-and-half-years on and off,” said 43-year-old Becky, a nail technician. “Quite often, it’s just us on our own at home and Snoopy’s been a sense of fun and normality.

“Ollie’s been very self-conscious when he went out, he didn’t want people to look at him when he’s in his wheelchair, he overcame that because he knew that Snoopy needed to go out for a walk and people were looking at Snoopy and not Ollie.

“He’s given us a sense of fun and normality on what has been a horrible time.

“Snoopy’s a bundle of fun. He’s very excited, loves people and doesn’t like being on his own. “Wherever we are, he will follow us, and I think that’s what nice for Ollie, I didn’t feel bad leaving the room knowing Snoopy was there with Ollie, watching over him.

“He’s just brought happiness to us as a fairly as well as a lot of support for Ollie.”

The Kennel Club wants to celebrate and share the amazing stories of how dogs give back to us every day of our lives. The overall winner will be announced in the NEC arena at Crufts 2019. 

The winner will also be awarded £5,000 and the runners up will each receive – for their nominated canine charity – £1,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust – helping to make a difference for dogs. 

The prospect of winning such a prestigious pooch award is not lost on the family, with Becky admitting victory in front of the cameras at the world’s biggest dog show would be truly overwhelming.

“To go is part of our wildest dreams really, Ollie has always said that he wanted to take Snoopy to Crufts and now here we are.

“I think it will mean a lot to him and a thank-you to Snoopy for always being there no matter what.

“Snoopy and Ollie are definitely up for going on TV at Crufts! Ollie likes to show off Snoopy – he’s taught him a few tricks.

“It would be totally amazing to win. It’s been such a long journey – three-and-a-half years of chemotherapy has been tough on all of us, especially on Ollie and it will be great t have a happy ending.

“Ollie has finished treatment – he’s being closely monitored by the hospital, but winning would be the icing on the cake.”