Fee Sharples was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and said her two pet dogs, Inca and Pickles, helped her to smile during her illness.
Retired nurse, Mrs Sharples, said: “The idea for Britain’s Next Top Dog came to me in the middle of the night. I have always had dogs and I know just how much they mean to us all.”
“They are far more than just pets, they are very much part of the family and are always there for us through both the good and bad times and always with their unconditional love, loyalty and daft antics – they just make you smile.”
Dog-owners are being urged to submit photos of their canine companions to find winners of six categories: Puppy Dog, Urban Dog, Off-Road Dog, Pampered Dog, Working Dog and Playful Dog.
The scheme is being supported by celebrity judges including Stephen Fry, Gabby Logan and Jeremy Vine, who will choose the winners in each category, before a public vote to decide the overall Top Dog.
The panel also includes TV and radio presenter Graham Norton, who said: “Dogs have helped so many of us get through the last year, so the opportunity to stare at pictures of them while raising money for such a worthwhile cause was too good an opportunity to miss.”
Mrs Sharples, whose cancer was discovered during a routine mammogram, added: “I have certainly needed Inca and Pickle on my own cancer journey and it’s going to be fabulous seeing and hearing how the nation’s pet dogs have made an impact on theirs and other people’s lives.”
Cancer Research UK’s head of fundraising, Trudy Stammer, said: “We’re incredibly fortunate to have such loyal and creative supporters, who come up with innovative fundraising ideas to support our life-saving research – we couldn’t do what we do without them.”
The lucky Top Dog owner will receive a top-of-the-range smartphone with accessories, a long weekend in a dog-friendly hotel and a bespoke Emma Bridgewater trophy, while the winning pooch in each category will get a doggy bag of prizes including dog accessories, vouchers and a dog portrait.
Upload your best doggy image at the Britain’s Next Top Dog Website to enter. Entries cost £10 with all funds going to Cancer Research UK.