Agility lover moves from her home of 25 years for her dogs

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 various courses.

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 fun."

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."

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