Sheffield teenager nominates pet dog for Crufts award for helping her fight eating disorder

Shih Tzu Benji and his owner Lily Martin - Crufts
Shih Tzu Benji and his owner Lily Martin - Crufts
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A dog lover from Sheffield who nominated her pooch for a top award at Crufts said he has helped saved her life.

Lily Martin, aged 16 and from Charnock, nominated her Shih Tzu, Benji, into the Kennel Club’s ‘Eukanuba Friends for Life’ competition at Crufts and is waiting to find out of he makes the final.

Shih Tzu Benji and his owner Lily Martin - Crufts

Shih Tzu Benji and his owner Lily Martin - Crufts

The competition celebrates heart-warming stories of friendship in adversity, where dogs have earned the title of man’s best friend, through bravery, support or companionship.

Lily nominated Benji for the role he has played in helping her with her battle with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, and anxiety.

She was diagnosed last July and received Benji as a birthday gift the following month.

The teenager had left Sheffield College through her illness and struggled to leave the house, but since getting her pet dog Lily is now considering returning to college and walks Benji daily.

“Benji is so special to me and has given me something to eat for again,” she said.

“I had been struggling with eating for a few years and I was diagnosed with anorexia last year.

“My parents got me a dog for my birthday which was something I had been wanting for 10 years.

“I was also suffering with anxiety and didn’t want to leave the house but because I had to make sure I gave him a walk and looked after him, that got me out of the house.

“I love going to Crufts so it would be amazing if we could make the final.”

If Benji makes the final he will make an appearance at the world renowned Crufts dog show at Birmingham’s NEC on Sunday, March 13.