A dog lover from Newtownards, County Down is hoping that moving
from her home of 25 years will help her and her dogs on the road to
success at a major international dog agility event this August.
Cheryl Harkness decided to move out of the centre of town into
the country to help her and her dogs' agility training, ahead of
the Kennel Club International Agility Festival, which takes place
at Rockingham Castle, Leicestershire from 9th - 11th August.
Cheryl's team of dogs had grown from two to five dogs and more
flexibility was needed for her to continue her success in
competitions. Cheryl now has enough space to do basic training with
her dogs in her garden and has rented a field nearby, where she can
use agility equipment to further practice the dogs' skills.
Cheryl's five dogs comprise two working Australian Kelpies, Sheugh
and Hali, two working Cocker Spaniels, Beans and Toast, and a
Swedish Vallhund called Fidget.
Cheryl says: "I decided to move as there wasn't really enough
space for me and the dogs to train and after much deliberation I
decided to move to a new home with more space. Now we can practice
as often as we like and it's great."
The Kennel Club International Agility Festival, which is kindly
supported by CSJ Specialist Canine Feeds, will feature around 2,500
dogs of all types, sizes and experience levels competing across 15
agility rings, with dogs jumping and weaving their way around the
Cheryl will be competing in the Kennel Club International
Agility Festival with four of her dogs. This will be the third time
Cheryl has competed at the festival and she says: "I'm really
looking forward to competing in August. I've been in the British
Open final for the past two years with my dog Beans and my dog
Fidget was in the winning small team of the Nations Cup in 2011 so
we're setting our sights high this year. It's such a great
atmosphere at the festival - me and the dogs have a lot of
Competing in dog agility shows is not only a hobby for Cheryl,
but it has helped improve her health and fitness. Cheryl who is a
spokesperson for the Kennel Club's Get Fit With Fido campaign
explains: "I've been competing in agility for 15 years and there
are so many benefits to it - it improves your health and fitness,
both physically and mentally, and it's a really good way to meet
new people who all enjoy the same hobby."