A brave schoolgirl who has undergone harrowing treatment for cancer is celebrating today with her best friend - her pet dog Percy.
Fifteeen-year-old Lauren Ashby and Cockerpoo Percy took part in the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts, this week ... and came away with a string of prizes.
And the pair are delighted. “Percy enjoyed it as much as I did,” said Lauren, a pupil at Horsham’s Millais school. “When we came out of the ring he had some dog ice-cream.”
Proud mum Dominique added: “They did brilliantly. In the three classes they had qualified for, they achieved two second places - one in Graduate Agility and one in Medium Crossbreed Of The Year - and a fifth place in ABC Agility. The categories are quite large and were very tough.”
Lauren - who is credited with having ‘an amazing bond’ with Percy - first started training with her beloved pet just before her devastating diagnosis with Hodgkins Lymphoma two years ago. She underwent gruelling treatment, including surgery, chemo and stem cell therapy in September, but has now been given the all clear.
She and Percy have since been in training in earnest for Crufts for the past three months. And she credits Percy with her success.
“He’s so amazing, he’s my best friend. He’s lovely, cuddly and caring and is a really good dog.
“I just wanted him to be happy in the ring. I just wanted him to enjoy himself. I’m so delighted it’s all gone well and his tail is wagging so much,” said Lauren.
Lauren, who has trained Percy herself since he was a pup - even during bouts of treatment when she wasn’t in hospital - now has her eyes firmly set on another target: taking part in the Kennel Club’s European Open Junior Championship being held in Switzerland in July.
“They will find out this week if they have been selected for the GB squad,” said mum Dominique. And they are already well-prepared if they get the go-ahead, despite uncertainties over Brexit. “Percy has his passport at the ready,” said Dominique.