Crufts call for unplanned puppy with star quality

Sidmouth team set for Crufts

Sidmouth team set for Crufts - Credit: Archant

An unwanted puppy proved pedigree isn’t everything as his ‘superstar’ quality earned him a place competing in a prestigious international show.

Dog owners Dani Jeffery and daughter Fern, of Salcombe Regis, say they are ‘extremely proud’ after qualifying to compete at Crufts 2016 – an ‘amazing’ feat as it was their first time trying out for the world-renowned event.

Fern’s pedigree collie Cove, six, will take part in the agility team competition, alongside Dani’s four-year-old dog George – whose achievements are even more remarkable after his rather unusual start in life.

Olympic silver medallist Mary King owned a dog called Tommy and, four years ago, an unplanned meeting between him and collie Marley, owned by Louise and Nigel Stout, of Sidmouth’s Mocha Restaurant, resulted in an unexpected litter of eight puppies.

Dani – who has 30 years’ experience as a dog owner - said she heard about the new puppies from the postman - and only got in touch with Louise to offer advice and help in finding them a home.

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She said: “George was my least favourite to start out with. I did not really want one, but then he kept coming up to me. “This little ball of fluff just would not leave me alone. He is now a top quality agility dog and, as it happens, he is the most amazing, naturally talented superstar that there is.

“Both of the dogs have reached the top grade in agility now, so compete at championship level and we were asked this year if we would like to run in a team to try and qualify for Crufts.

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“We were obviously excited to be involved in this, and amazingly - at our first attempt - we qualified.

“It’s quite an achievement for any dog, but even more special when it’s a little white-faced puppy, who wasn’t even planned and was a gift to me.

“We have never competed at Crufts and it’s very unusual for a mother and daughter to both be in a team, let alone qualify.”

Dani called her puppy George after Louise’s daughter Georgia, who was very attached to him.

Louise said the litter of eight came as quite a shock at the time, but she is delighted by George’s achievements and will be going along to cheer on the team at Crufts.

Dani and Fern, along with two others in their team, will travel to the NEC in Birmingham for the competition on March 10, 2016.

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