Teenage dog handler Katie Arnold is jumping for joy after being selected to represent Great Britain at the European Open Junior Agility Championships this summer.
The Wigton Nelson Thomlinson schoolgirl is one of the top handlers in the UK and will form part of the Young kennel Club’s first eve squad to be represented at the championships being held in Samorin in Slovakia in July.
Katie, 15 and 4yr old border collie Thames are one of only 20 handler and dog teams to be chosen from across the UK. She had to endure two selection days competing in the European open Junior Championship qualifier in Leicestershire.Katie said “As a junior handler, not much opportunity is given for us to compete at international level, so I am honoured to be selected.”
Katie’s life as a dog handler began at the age of five, working with her parent’s dogs. Four years later she progressed to training her own dog. Mum Trish is a keen dog handler and along with Katie, cares for the family’s 11 dogs.
Katie is hoping to raise sponsorship to make the trip to Slovakia. “It’s going to cost around £3000. We have to pay for the dog’s passport, travelling and accommodation and I would dearly love for my parents to accompany me.” added Katie. “I have already had £200 donated to my fund from Ashlea Veterinary Centre.”
Katie has been running Thames, who belongs to a friend in Hexham, in competitions for the past three years. two weeks ago the pair qualified for Crufts2017, after taking the lead in the Wyre Agility Show championships in Preston, against 80 other dogs and their handlers. And over the Easter weekend, the winning youngster took a first, second and third in the Hare and Hound competitions at Helmsley in Yorkshire.
She also had her first judging appointment on Good Friday where she judged nearly 400 dogs after qualifying as an official Kennel Club Agility judge.
“It’s been a good year for us, but this trip to Slovakia is a once in a lifetime achievement and all of the hard work has paid off.” said Katie.
To sponsor Katie for her trip to Slovakia, email [email protected]