CHERYL Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, could be said to be barking mad about her two dogs, Tizzy and Curby.

They go everywhere with her, leading a town life in London followed by country-style in Buckinghamshire and when they cannot be with her because she is abroad they send her postcards saying how much they miss her.

The MP loves them just as much. "I love them to bits. Most dog owners do. They are very good for people. They don't tell you you are ugly, they love you all the time and they are good companions.

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"True they do get annoyed if you are late home, but they forgive you immediately especially if you have half a chicken with you."

Tizzy, a Norwich terrier/Jack Russell cross, is already a top parliamentary dog, having won the Westminster Dog of the Year Competition run by the National Canine Defence League, a few years ago. Tizzy donated her prize, a year's supply of dog food to Chiltern Dog Rescue.

On Thursday Curby hopes to make it a double for her mistress by winning this year's title. She also promises to give her prize away is she wins.

Curby, a Lhasa Apso bitch, is one of ten finalists and is up against dogs owned by four Labour MPs, three Conservatives and two peers.

The aim is to find the most loveable dog with the most character their owners' attributes, achievements and status don't get taken into account.

Cheryl and husband Jack first met Tizzy wandering on the moors, abandoned by previous owners.