ALL IT took was one quick scroll through Instagram to completely change the life of Benfleet’s Amelia Burridge.

Attacked by a group of teenagers on a Canvey Island beach, the 15-year-old didn’t know where to turn having been knocked unconscious and hospitalised – leaving her emotionally and physically bruised.

It led Amelia to thoughts of ending her life, with every-day happiness at an all-time low at a time when she should have been feeling the opposite.

But when the school student stumbled on a post across social media, little did she know how a puppy named Poppy would transform her entire life – at times even saving it.

“When I met Poppy, I was at one of my lowest times,” she explained. “I wouldn't leave the house or meet anyone face to face.

“But I saw someone on Instagram who had and assistance dog for their autism. I thought about how much freedom and independence that dog gave the person and decided to try get an assistance dog for myself to gain back my life.

“I looked at a few charities that trained them, but I didn't fit the age requirements. I also wanted to train my own dog for my own requirements.

“I spent weeks looking for the right dog then a litter of fox red puppies popped up and I went to view them. It’s like Poppy chose me, as soon as I sat down in the garden with the puppies Poppy ran and grabbed a leaf and placed it in my hand.

“It’s like she thought ‘if I give you this leaf you'll take me home’, and from then on I knew she was the right dog.

“Poppy has given me courage, confidence and freedom. I can now go to the shops alone without panicking and freezing on the spot not knowing what to do or say if someone looked or spoke to me.

“I couldn’t keep my eyes off the ground and constantly looked down to the floor.

“Now I have Poppy I am able to look at her and see her looking back at me with such a happy little face like she believes in me.”

To say Poppy has transformed Amelia’s life would only scratch the surface of the impact her four-legged friend has had since they first came together as recently as August.

It’s for those reasons that Amelia has nominated Poppy for The Kennel Club’s Friends for Life award at Crufts in the hero assistance dog category, celebrating all assistance dogs, from guide and hearing to medical detection and autism assistance. She narrowly missed out on making the final short-list.

The Kennel Club wants to celebrate and share the amazing stories of how dogs give back to us every day of our lives. There will be one winner per category, decided through a public vote, and 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.

Making a difference is exactly what Poppy has down for her Essex owner, conceding that she may not even be here today if it wasn’t for the one closest to her side.

“I have experienced so many new things and met so many new people just because of Poppy. I'm able to ask for help or be confident enough to shop alone,” she added.

“I had a few suicide attempts before I had Poppy because I thought life just wasn't worth living.

“I wake up every day because of Poppy, I know she’s waiting down stairs for me to feed her and go on a new adventure. Poppy has given me a reason to carry on and pursue my future.”