Olympic sniffer dog reject comes out on top at DogFest

A cocker spaniel called Gladys has been hailed a “wonder dog” after overcoming a string of setbacks to put on an impressive display at DogFest.

The event, which took place earlier this month, was organised by veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick. A number of canine agility competitions were staged in a variety of classes, and Gladys triumphed against all of her opponents.

The lively pet from Butterleigh near Tiverton surprised crowds and judges with her abilities due to the fact she was born with a decayed rear leg. Her devoted owners Mike and Anne Higgins could not have predicted her success at DogFest, after being informed by vets that she would not have enough balance to navigate her way through obstacles. Her owners had faith in her, however, and played a big role in her progression to the penultimate grade in Kennel Club agility.

When Devon & Cornwall Police were seeking out potential search dogs in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, Mike and Anne Higgins put Gladys forward. Unfortunately, she was deemed too much of a risk because of her disability. This seemingly failed to dampen her spirit though, as she went on to receive awards for both agility and jumping at the Fitzpatrick DogFest weekend.

Michael Ball presented the awards and Chris Evans made an appearance on the Sunday. The event was organised to show appreciation for the canine neurological and orthopaedic work which is carried out at the Surrey Centre.