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Dealing with disappointment...

Laura Chudleigh and her dog Rodney (Flickcee Hot Rod) finished 2010 on a high, winning the Kennel Club Agility Stakes at Olympia, in association with Joint Aid for Dogs. They also became sponsored by GWF Nutrition – makers of Joint Aid for Dogs. 2011 though has so far seen mixed fortunes for Laura and her Border Collie. In their bid to qualify for Olympia again this year, during a training session in June, Rodney swallowed his squeaky ball.

Not surprisingly this was a traumatic time for owner and dog. Laura was not only angry with herself for allowing it to happen, but also deeply worried for Rodney. He maybe a talented agility dog, but first and foremost he is an adored companion.

He came through the operation exceedingly well and without losing too much fitness. After taking veterinary advice Rodney was back in training in July.

Laura said, 'Rodney has come back brilliantly from the operation and it went perfectly. The vets said he is fine and he has come back into training brilliantly. He is not always listening though, but he is up for it and is fit and running.'

This has been a setback for Laura and Rodney. Because of when it happened they missed out on the World Championship try outs. They also haven't qualified for Olympia 2011 which in Laura’s own words is 'annoying.'

However, Laura and Rodney have qualified for the Crufts singles in March 2012. Recently they also represented Great Britain on the European Team in Austria. Despite the anticipation, the competition was an anti-climax.

Laura was disappointed to find it very badly organised with competitors and their dogs waiting hours and hours for courses to be built and agreed upon. The equipment used was inadequate - bordering on dangerous and the large dogs were run on poor ground. The bad weather couldn't be helped, but the floodlights kept cutting out which left everyone completely in the dark.

It has been an eventful year so far, but Laura treats it all like a learning curve.

She said, It has made me more determined - especially seeing how I have not qualified for Olympia this year. After what happened with the operation, I am just pleased Rodney is back to health again. He is still so young, being only three years old, so we still have plenty of time to achieve our goals. With some winter training Rodney will be good to go by Crufts and ready for the rest of the season ahead.

Laura and Rodney have expanded their family and have been joined by Border Collie called Troy who no doubt will be following in Rodney’s paw prints and competing at agility.

Laura has also been busy holding training days and weekends. These are proving to be very popular amongst those looking to fine tune their agility skills and strengthen their partnerships with their dogs.

However, it is a great shame the reigning champions are not at Olympia this Christmas to defend their title. It begs why does the winner not gain automatic qualification for the following year?

The bottom line though is Rodney is healthy and happy. The rest comes with training, training, training...

Laura added, 'I would like to thank Joint Aid for Dogs for their continuous support - not only with our competing but with our training, too.'

Laura is available for private and group lessons at her venue in Brinkworth, Wiltshire. If you would like more information on training with Laura she can be contacted at email: laura.chudleigh1@gmail.com or m. 07894 138436. www.laurachudleigh.co.uk

About the author...
Katie Roebuck
is the PR manager for GWF Nutrition. A former BBC News journalist, she worked in television news for 10 years before joining Farmers Guardian as their South West correspondent.

Katie said, 'I have been part of the GWF Nutrition team since 2009. I'm proud to be part of a company whose integrity shines through every one of their products.'

For more information or to order, please visit: www.gwfnutrition.com or call GWF Nutrition direct on tel. 01225 708482