THEY say a dog is a man’s best friend — but for epilepsy sufferer Peter Hunter, they are a life-line.

Mr Hunter’s four beloved dogs Buster, Lucky, Jet and Sam are like any other pooches.

They love being taken out for walks and having treats, but they also play a more vital role in their owner’s life.

Mr Hunter, of Slaidburn Avenue, Breightmet, has had severe epilepsy all his life and can have up to 20 fits a week.

His dogs are not specially trained to detect his illness but the 49-year-old said they intuitively know when he is having a fit.

Buster, a Collie-Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross and Jet, a Labrador-Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross, play particularly important roles.

When Mr Hunter falls down when he has a fit, Buster paws at his side and Jet licks his face until he regains consciousness.

The former security guard said: “I have had them for 10 years and they just seemed to have picked it up.

“On a bad day I can have eight fits in an afternoon and they can last for five minutes. Normally I just come out of it but it is exhausting for me.

“Buster paws at my side and Jet licks my face and it really helps.

“I don’t know what I would do without them. Everyone loves the dogs too and they can’t believe how friendly they are. They are gobsmacked when I tell them what they can do.”

Mr Hunter was forced to give up his job 12 years ago but has discovered a passion for wildlife photography.

He added: “I have had epilepsy all my life and I’ve just had to learn to live with it. Walking the dogs around Leverhulme Park has been a great way to stay active and I love wildlife photography too.

“I think if I didn’t get out and do that I would go insane.”

Mr Hunter will exhibit all of his photographs to boost cash for the Epilepsy Society, Cancer Research and Help for Heroes at St Osmunds RC Church in Long Lane on October 6.