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Penny Black

A dream come true

Holly Davies always wanted a dog. She dreamt of the day when she be at Crufts with her own dog, but she was never allowed to have one - and that was that! So she took up horse riding, but it wasn't as good because you can't take a horse home! When a lady at the stables announced that her dog was having puppies, Holly couldn't believe it. She went to see them when they were only one day old. 'All sold - sorry,' the owner said 'but the little girl one. We want to find her a better home.' And they did.

The puppy's owner turned to me and asked. 'What d'ya think?'

'Wow,' I thought.

I raced home to tell my parents. After hours and hours of whining, Dad gave in, 'Okay, okay,' he said. That was how Penny became my little girl.

When I collected her, she couldn't wait to get away from her brothers. Can you blame her!

'Sheís always wanted to get to Crufts,' my Mum said to the bitch's owner.

'I think you'll have a job, being a mongrel,' she laughed!

A difficult start
From then on I was even more determined. I had her jumping over canes in the garden, running along walls and jumping through hula-hoops! I couldn't wait for her to grow up, so she could join an agility club.

At the age of one, we bundled her into the car, and arrived at a field to train her. I let her off, expecting her to be like the good little dog that she was in the garden. Woof, woof, woof she went, rounding up the horses in the next field, running through a tunnel and refusing to come out the other side. She even tried to start a fight with a dog four times her size. I could've died!

'I'm not coming again.' I cried, Mum wiping the tears from my eyes. But I had no choice. We'd booked the six week course! I took her along each week, and she slowly improved.

We had her registered for the shows as Holly's Penny Black, a name we chose as she was from Kidderminster, home of the famous stamp. Dad's idea was 'Little Black Bullet. You have to laugh!

The road to Crufts
She had her first show at Dordale when she was two years old. I was so pleased with her, she soon started bringing home the pretty ribbons. She won her first competition at the age of three. It was one of the happiest days of my life!

She went on to become Intermediate, then Senior and at the end of 2001, Advanced. She has been to Crufts several times, winning her demonstration classes each time. At 14" high Penny showed those Standards a thing or two, he he! She came runner-up Junior Agility Dog of the Year, just one-tenth of a second behind the winner. For which she was pictured in several newspapers. She did her first Championship class a few weeks ago, and she was clear in the Jumping and Agility, but we didn't get anywhere in the final. She is off to Crufts again in March having just won 16-18 year old Mini class at the YKC qualifiers at Birmingham.

Because of our achievements, in the year 2000, we had another dog, Sophie, a blue and white Border Collie. She's well... pretty useless at agility! Actually she's getting there... slowly. You canít knock her enthusiasm! Her fortť is Obedience and Working Trials.

Iíll be lucky to get another Penny, but Iím keeping an ear out for any pups from the riding stables!


About the author...
Iím Holly Davies, 16 years old from Kidderminster in the West Midlands. Iíve recently started college after receiving my GCSEs - all As and Bs, which I was pleased about because it meant I can do my BTEC National Diploma in Animal Care. I hope to go on and either work for the police (the dog side of things Ė of course!), or work with sniffer dogs -  havenít yet decided!

As previously mentioned, I started agility at the age of eleven, and have been addicted ever since! My other dog related interests include Working Trials, Obedience and the odd spot of flyball!

If you are ever out and about, youíll hear me and my dogs before you see us, we must be the noisiest trio about!

Feedback

From Muriel Hayward
The article was well written and a good interpretation of a kind and understanding dog handler. I am sure Holly will go on to even more successes. (25/09/02)

From Jenny Borriello with Tessa...
Great to read Holly's account of how she has achieved such good results with Penny. She is a inspiration to any one trying hard to get it right! I started at Kidderminster  two years ago with my Border Collie Tessa and when I was in the Starters class and could see Holly training with Penny, I realised what a lot I had to learn (and still have!) Good luck with everything in the future and keep flying the flag for our small but dedicated club at Kidderminster. . (10/10/02)