The bond between owner and pet is like no other - dogs are there through all the highs and lows that life brings.
English bulldog Emily has supported her owner, Kristie Townsend, through loss, grief and joy, including the devastating sudden death of her brother.
The Romanian rescue dog gave Kristie a purpose and a reason to get up every morning.
Without her, Kristie does not believe she would be here today.
“I am alive because of Emily and for Emily," said the 49-year-old, from Wigston.
The pair have "bonded together over time", she said, and have shared "psychological scars", making them "inseparable".
In 2016, six-week-old English bulldog Emily was shipped to the UK by a Romanian puppy breeder - but her stubborn nature and feisty attitude meant that she was deemed no longer useful to them.
Luckily, Kristie’s brother, Robin Townsend, stepped in and saved her.
At the time, Kristie had just returned home from six months in hospital, after being diagnosed with anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
“Robin suggested we should share the care of Emily," she said. "He thought that a puppy would help me to recover and manage my BPD."
Kristie began looking after Emily while Robin was at work. Then, one evening in September 2016, Robin asked if she could look after Emily overnight.
“My brother died the next day,” Kristie said.
Robin had suddenly passed away at the age of 40.
As Kristie grieved for her sibling, Emily gave her a purpose - and a reason to get up every morning.
“I didn’t want to get out of bed,” Kristie said.
“Robin trusted me to look after Emily, so that’s what I decided to do.
“She literally saved my life.”
Story Sourced from: LeicestershireLive