Phoenix rises to Crufts challenge

Lynn Crawford with Phoenix
Lynn Crawford with Phoenix

A PROUD dog owner has said she is “over the moon” after her pooch picked up a prestigious prize in her debut appearance at Crufts.

Lynn Crawford says she is still on a high after two-and-a-half-year-old Phoenix was awarded second place in her category at the world’s biggest dog show at the weekend.

It was the first appearance on the biggest stage for Phoenix, a Belgian shepherd whose kennel name is Belark Stairway to Heaven, but that did not appear to deter the pooch.

A near perfect performance resulted in the dog being awarded second spot in the postgraduate class of the pastoral category, which focuses on guarding and managing livestock. Lynn, 52, who made the trip to Crufts along with Phoenix’s breeder, Carol Baker, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, she was brilliant.

“There was 11 dogs in the class and when I looked at it I knew it was going to be difficult, but she behaved beautifully.

“It was the first time she had performed at Crufts, but she didn’t let it bother her at all.

“Me and Carol are absolutely delighted, we are still on a high now.”

The placing means Phoenix gets automatic qualification for next year’s Crufts.

Lynn, a mum-of-two who lives in Blackhall, said Phoenix has a bright future ahead.

This year’s competition did not prove to be quite as successful for Hartlepool man John Day.

John, 49, made the trip to the Midlands with his two dogs, Denzel and Clive, who both performed in the Italian spinone category.

Eight-and-a-half-year-old Denzel was handed a highly commended fifth place in the veteran category at this year’s competition at Birmingham NEC in what was the dog’s final Crufts showing.

But, unfortunately three-and-a-half-year-old Clive just missed out on a placing.

John, who lives in the Park Road area of Hartlepool with wife Suzi, said: “It was nice for Denzel to receive a highly commended spot, but it was disappointing for Clive to just miss out.

“It was a good day though, the atmosphere is always fantastic.”