Dogs have always been there for us, through the good times and the bad.

This loyalty and unwavering love was essential during lockdown, as we came to terms with a new way of living. Consequently, pet owners across the country found their dogs were bringing joy into their homes and lifting spirits during a very difficult time.

Andy and Clare Corser adopted a maltipoo called Bert on March 18, a few days before lockdown.

Andy, 29, said: “I’ve always wanted a dog, despite never having one of my own before. Clare isn’t really a dog person but her mum has a little cavapoo called Ernie and she loves him, so I knew she would love having a dog. I was right - she treats Bert like a baby!”

“I do really like being able to look after something,” said Clare, 28. “I think it must be my maternal instinct.”

The couple went back and forth about getting a dog for over a year and decided to take the plunge after returning from holiday in March. They had done a lot of research and decided they wanted a poodle crossbreed, then fate intervened and they found Bert.

“We planned to get a cavapoo like Clare’s mum’s dog, but when we organised to visit the breeder we got the dates mixed up and all the cavapoos had been sold,” explained Andy.

“Fortunately we saw the breeder also had maltipoos for sale and we ended up preferring Bert, so it was meant to be.”

Bert is now 17 weeks old and he has settled into life with Andy and Clare, embracing lockdown with the couple.

“He has taken our mind off anything lockdown-related and lockdown hasn’t been a chore for us at all, as I know others have really struggled,” said Clare.

“We’ve really loved it,” agreed Andy. “Bert is the reason we’ve enjoyed lockdown as when we take him for a walk we can really switch off after working from home. I enjoy having him around the house, although he does a lot of sleeping at the moment.”

“It’s also the unconditional love he gives you, he is so cute and loves us so much,” said Clare. “He is also funny all the time, and whatever he does just makes us laugh.”

Another couple who credits their dog for keeping them smiling during lockdown is Amanda Williams and Ceri Bower.

“Dug just sticks his tongue out and smiles, so it’s very hard to be mad at him for stealing your shoes for the tenth time that day,” said Amanda, 32. “He is such a character and is so goofy, so he makes Ceri and I laugh all the time.”

After buying a house together, Amanda and her partner Ceri, adopted Dug - named after the dog in the Pixar film Up - in August 2019 and he has been part of the family ever since.

Amanda said: “We sometimes joke that we bought a house just so we could have a dog! We instantly fell in love with Dug and then three weeks later we picked him up with both of our mums.

“On the day we brought Dug home, it was the anniversary of my Dad’s death, so it was a nice thing to do on such a sad day. It was a happy experience and it was important to us to do it on that day.”

Dug is now almost 11 months old and is a labradoodle, with a very playful and loving personality.

Amanda said: “Dug has helped us in so many ways during lockdown. Ceri and I were saying how Dug has helped us to get outside by taking him for a walk every day. He has given us a reason to go outside and it has helped us to feel better mentally. If we are anxious, or if work is a bit stressful, we go out and walk Dug and we feel much better.”

Dug has also played a key part in Amanda and Ceri’s relationship, as he helped Amanda to propose to Ceri last year.

“He just makes everything a little bit better,” said Amanda. “Dogs have so much love to give and he completes our family.”

Is your dog Britain's finest lockdown pet?

We’ve teamed up with Butcher’s Nourishing Food For Dogs to honour the nation’s unsung heroes, reward them for helping us through these tough times, and celebrate all the lockdown love they’ve given us.

How to enter

It's time to honour the four-legged friends who’ve helped us through the lockdown
It's time to honour the four-legged friends who’ve helped us through the lockdown

Using the form below, simply send in a photograph of your dog, and tell us in 100 words or less how they have been a lockdown superstar. Terms and conditions apply - see below for details.

Maybe you finally cracked that trick. Maybe they got you out the house to get your one-a-day outing. Maybe you were self-isolating and they were your only company.

Whatever it is that makes your dog special, we want to hear all about it.

You might want to send us a few words, or pen a couple of lines sharing your best memories of the last few weeks. Or you might even want to write a short poem about your hero.

The competition is open now, and the final chance to enter will be on Friday, June 5.

We’ll then choose and publish a shortlist of our favourite stories from around the UK, before asking you, our readers, to vote for your regional winners.

The regional winners will then become national finalists, with readers being given the chance to vote for and choose our overall Lockdown Dog Hero winner.

So here’s to all of Britain’s lockdown dogs – good luck!

Terms and conditions

  • By entering this competition you agree that you have read and understood the terms and conditions associated with Lockdown Dog Heroes and agree to Reach Plc and Butcher’s Pet Care Ltd publishing your entry on any of their sites, papers, and/or newsletters.

  • The closing date to receive entries is at midnight on Friday June 5 2020.

  • An independent judging panel will select 20 of the very best pictures and stories from all the entries received.

  • These will be shortlisted into the next round and will be put to the public vote. Votes will open between 05.00 June, 9 and midnight on June 10.

  • The dog with the most votes will go through to a national competition and the final round.

  • 22 dogs in total will be put to the public vote.

  • The dog with the most votes will be crowned the overall winner. Votes will open between 00:01 Jun 19 and 00:00 June 22.

  • One national winner receives £1,500 towards a dog friendly break + A Year’s Supply of Butcher's Food for Dogs.

  • Each regional winner will each receive £100.00 Butcher's Food for Dogs Voucher.

  • Prize not transferable, no whole/part cash alternatives, delivered within 28 days of competition closing date

  • Online entry only. Proof of submission is not proof of receipt.

  • Reach Plc supports the prevention of cruelty to animals and in no way seeks to encourage readers to submit photographs or images which might endanger the wellbeing of animals and we reserve the right not to publish inappropriate pictures.

  • Standard Reach Plc rules apply, see https://www.mirror.co.uk/rules/

  • Employees of ReachPlc, Butchers Pet Care Ltd and their families, and anyone professionally connected to the promotion are not eligible to neither enter nor vote in the promotion.

  • Editor’s decision is final.

  • 22 Regional prizes are syndicated as follows:

    • MirrorOnline & Daily Mirror,

    • Daily Record

    • Birmingham Mail and BirminghamLive

    • BristolLive and BristolPost

    • DerbyshireLive, Derby Telegraph, BurtonMail

    • CambridgeshireLive Cambridge News

    • CoventryLive, Coventry Telegraph

    • North Wales Live, Daily Post Wales

    • GrimsbyLive, GrimsbyTelegraph

    • YorkshireLive, Huddersfield Examiner

    • HullLive, Hull Daily Mail

    • LeicestershireLive, Leicester Mercury

    • Liverpool Echo

    • Manchester Evening News

    • ChronicleLive, Newcastle Journal, Chronicle

    • NottinghamshireLive NottinghamPost

    • WalesOnline, South Wales Echo, South Wales evening Post, WesternMail

    • StokeOnTrentLive The Sentinel

    • TeessideLive, Gazette

    • PlymouthLive, The Herald

    • SomersetLive WesternDailyPress

    • DevonLive, WesternMorning News