A girl from St Albans is one of five children to have been awarded the title of Junior Canine Carer by the Dogs Trust.

Charlotte Dunkerley, 11, a pupil at Sandringham School, was announced as one of the winners of the charity's national competition where five youngsters have been chosen to help care for the dogs at its rehoming centres To enter the competition, children aged seven to 11 were asked to design an advertising poster to illustrate why a dog is not a toy. The aim was to help Dogs Trust warn against dogs being treated as fashion accessories.

Charlotte beat off competition from more than 450 entries and won a day at Dogs Trust Harefield, west London. She visited last Thursday and had a behind the scenes tour and was part of the charity's canine carer team for a day.

She also received a goody bag of prizes, including the nintendogs™ + cats game.

Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, launched the competition in partnership with Nintendo last year.

Charlotte Peters, Dogs Trust West London education officer said: "Charlotte’s entry stood out from all the others for its beautiful design and unique poem. It was so eye-catching and really captured the essence of the message ‘a dog is not a toy.’ "By being a Junior Canine Carer for a day she will hopefully get a real sense of responsibility and leave knowing she’s made a difference to the dogs in our care."

Charlotte's mother, Caroline said: "Charlotte absolutely loves dogs and had great fun creating her poster. She had been counting down the days until visiting Dogs Trust West London and she loved every minute of helping the team.

"She has already expressed an interest in becoming a vet when she is older so I know that visiting the Dogs Trust will have really inspired her."

  • Featured in this picture with Charlotte is Finch, a ten-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier. For anyone who may be able to offer Finch a fresh start they can visit him at Dogs Trust Harefield or call on 0845 076 3647.