Watch: Dog agility world champion from Suffolk leads her pups on mobility scooter
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk dog owner has been crowned a diamond in the ruff after her pup picked up first place at the disability dog agility world championships.
Julie Thomson, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) and uses an electric wheelchair, led her dogs The Dodger and Nancy Jelly Tot to a raft of rosettes and awards – with Nancy eventually being crowned world champion at the competition in Huntingdon on August 26.
Dodger picked up a gold and a silver on his runs, but Nancy’s silver and two bronzes made her the most consistent and overall winner.
Speaking back at her regular training ground, Ace Agility in Glemsford, Mrs Thomson said: “It really was the experience of a lifetime, we spent most of the weekend in tears – mostly of joy, but also at the ability of the other handlers from around the world.
“I’m still on cloud nine really. There’s a really big group online that Jacqui Wood – my trainer – was sharing our story on and the next week, when we went to another competition, there were so many people who knew about us.
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“It was my 15 minutes of fame.”
Nancy, a six year old Labradoodle, has been trained in agility since she was a puppy, but Dodger, a nine year old Patterdale-Terrier cross, picked up the sport after being spotted at obedience sessions.
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Trainer Jacqui Wood described her student as an inspiration.
She said: “Every time she was called onto the podium I cried.
“There isn’t the words to describe the feeling – the closest word is elation.”
Mrs Thomson thanked all the people who supported her passion and her dogs – her sponsors Finer By Nature, Ardmore Veterinary Surgery in Sudbury, Tracy Chambers, who bred champion Nancy, and her husband Tommo.
She reserved a special nod to the team at Glemsford’s Ace Agility and her trainer Jacqui Wood, whose hard work and dedication is already generating interest from other disability dog trainers.
Mrs Thomson added: “I do not think there are many trainers out there who have her ability or eye – I have never trained with anyone as talented as her.
“She’s a magician who can turn a disability into an ability.
“Hopefully this will encourage people to try something they thought they couldn’t do, just like me.”