December 5 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, August 24, 2013
A newly-formed display team is hoping to prove you can teach old dogs new tricks this weekend.
The group of six handlers and their four-legged friends will be taking to the ring for their debut performance at the All About Dogs Show at the Royal Norfolk Showground at Costessey tomorrow and Monday.
They are all members of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dog School and were taught their moves by its founder Penny Laverick, from Oulton Broad.
Mrs Laverick is an experienced dog trainer and ran her own demonstration team in Nottinghamshire before moving to Suffolk with her husband Christian.
However, the rest of her team are complete novices and have been training hard to learn dance moves and tricks ahead of their big day.
The line-up includes Mrs Laverick and her lhasa apso Tiax; Mandy Wiles, from Pakefield, with rescued former racing greyhound Louis; Caryl Hann, from Lowestoft with her Labrador Barney; Caroline Carter, from Kessingland, with shih tzu cross Molly; Christine Barton, from Carlton Colville, with cocker spaniel Milly; Caroline Pickett, from Bradwell, with golden retrievers Phoebe and Gypsy and Lisa Mann, from Norwich, with Staffordshire terrier Bailey.
Ms Wiles and Louis both suffer health problems and have had to overcome more than most to be part of the team.
Ms Wiles, who is registered disabled, has been diagnosed with a painful bone disease and relies on a crutch to help her walk. Louis suffered cruel treatment during his time as a racing dog in Ireland, which has left him with a blown muscle in one of his hind legs. He has also had two of his toes amputated after a serious infection in May which nearly claimed his life.
Mrs Laverick, 63, said: “Louis was kept in a cage and only brought out when he raced. He wasn’t encouraged to interact with other dogs or use his brain. They just focus on running and then, of course, most are discarded afterwards.
“When the rescue people went to the kennels where Louis was, his owners were planning to do away with him because he couldn’t run anymore.
“With him it has been a remarkable journey but he has come through with Mandy’s patience and the love and care that he gets.”
Norfolk and Suffolk Dog School’s members will be dressed in pink for their performances in arena one at 12.15pm and 3pm on both days of the show. Philip Barton, whose wife Christine is part of the demonstration team, will be providing the commentary on the day.
The main routine will feature dogs and handlers doing heelwork to Rule the World by Take That. Louis – wearing special boots to protect his feet – will also perform a separate piece with Tiax set to These Boots are Made for Walking.
Mrs Laverick said: “I’m excited for the show because I like performing but I’m also a bit nervous because it will be the first time for all of these dogs.
“Everyone has worked really hard and it is all coming together well, so I just hope it all goes OK on the day.”
■ The Norfolk and Suffolk Dog School holds regular classes in Oulton Broad, Gisleham and Gorleston and its demonstration team has offered to repeat its performance free at local shows or events. For more information, contact Mrs Laverick on 01502 560013.