TWO assistance dogs from Thame have been nominated for a special award at this year’s Crufts for helping their disabled owners cement their love.
Sue and Byron Harvey originally met because of the link between the assistance dogs they had then – Isis and Inka, who were sisters.
The couple began to meet up “to see which dog was doing better”, although Inka sadly died just 10 days after being given to Mrs Harvey.
Mrs Harvey, 63, uses a wheelchair and has a disability caused by several life-threatening conditions including spinal surgery, a brain tumour and double bilateral mastectomies leading to spinal bacterial meningitis. She had divorced her husband and moved into a bungalow on her own when her son put her in touch with Banbury-based charity Dogs for the Disabled because she was struggling to cope.
It was then that she was given Inka and she met Mr Harvey, 60, whose wife Jill died shortly afterwards.
Mr Harvey, who is also wheelchair-bound after suffering from polio as a boy, said: “Both Sue and I had been through a lot of heartache due to our disabilities and the loss of ones closest to us. She was there to support me day and night. That turned into love and we got married nearly five years ago.
“It was our original dogs that brought us together and the journey to get our new assistance dogs helped cement that growing love.”
Isis, who has since retired, still lives with the couple and it is their new assistance dogs Max and Ziggy who have been nominated for the Friends for Life award at Crufts 2013, which runs from March 7 to 10.