Belfast Telegraph

Scarlett hoping her dogs will fetch glory at Crufts

By Cate McCurry

A 16-year-old student from Co Down is on her way to compete at the world-famous Crufts.

Scarlett Burnside, from Saintfield, has been training and handling her canine friends since the tender age of two.

The teenage dog lover will show off her unique handling skills with the help of her beloved pets, Marley, Hugo and Ethan at the annual Crufts show this weekend.

The competition will see thousands of handlers and dogs from across the globe battle it out to be crowned king - or queen - of the canines.

The Saintfield High School pupil made it through to the prestigious event after winning the all-Ireland Junior Handling finals.

Her mother, Perry Burnside, who has also been showing dogs from a young age, said that Scarlett demonstrated a natural gift with dogs since she was a baby.

"Scarlett used to crawl with the dogs when she was a baby and learned to walk by holding on to their ears," she said.

"From the age of two she has been training lots of puppies - she was the best puppy trainer.

"She is so passionate about showing dogs and training them and has been winning a lot of competitions."

Mrs Burnside explained that a good show dog will be healthy, fit for function, have good temperament and, most importantly, enjoy the competitions.

"The best show dogs are the ones who have a good rapport with the handler and Scarlett has that," she added.

Scarlett, who is studying for her GCSEs, hopes to go on and study animal management and welfare with the intention of becoming a dog trainer.

She has been described as having an "excellent and natural" ability to handling a wide variety of breeds.

Mrs Burnside added: "Scarlett is quite shy naturally but when she gets into the ring, no matter what dog it is, everyone can see how much she loves the dog.

"For her, it's taking on a new challenge that she loves the most.

"You can see she wants to get the best out of the dogs and build a relationship."

Scarlett will also attend the World Dog Show in Germany in November where she will represent Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph


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