JUST three-and-a-half years ago, the future looked bleak for tiny puppy Barney, a ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Handed in to the Worthing and District Animal Rescue Service (WADARS), the little pup was suffering from a life-threatening respiratory illness. Barney was rushed to Grove Lodge vets for emergency treatment.
After intensive treatment, Barney made a remarkable recovery and was well enough to be fostered.
Having helped to nurse Barney through his illness, Hayley Telling, a veterinary nurse at Grove Lodge, offered to foster the dog until his ‘forever home’ could be found. But by the time Barney had made a full recovery and could have the first vaccination, the family were reluctant to give up the little dog.
Hayley said: “We had all fallen totally in love with Barney, and the bond I had with him meant I had to ask WADARS if I could keep him forever.”
Following the necessary home checks, WADARS agreed Hayley could adopt Barney. To ensure the dog was well-mannered and sociable, Hayley and Barney attended puppy training classes, and Barney was a star student. Having watched an agility display at Discover Dogs, Hayley was inspired to take Barney to try out a class and, after the first lesson, they were both hooked. The pair competed in their first agility competition just three months later.
Since then, Hayley and Barney have proved to be a winning partnership.
They have won numerous competitions, including the Starters Cup at Discover Dogs 2012, the Agility Club Annual Award and the Rescue Dog of the Year title.
Carrying on the pair’s enormous success, Barney and Hayley have now been invited to compete as part of team England at the World Agility Open Championships 2014, in Italy, where they will be sponsored by Grove Lodge vets.
• For the full report and more pictures, see this week’s Worthing Herald, on sale now.