Sweet smell of success for Olympic sniffer dog reject
A remarkable gun dog with a dodgy back leg has blown away the able-bodied opposition to win a prestigious test of canine agility.
Gladys the "wonder dog" was born with a congenital defect in her rear leg and was snubbed as a police sniffer dog for last year's 2012 Olympic Games.
But despite her obvious disadvantage of the deformity, she has beaten all-comers at a the Dogfest event, which is organised by TV's Noel Fitzpatrick, better known as The Bionic Vet.
When Gladys, a cocker spaniel from Butterleigh near Tiverton, was born with a withered rear leg, owners Mike and Anne Higgins were told that she would never be able to cope with agility exercises because she lacked the balance needed to run along the dogwalk and weaving in and out of obstacles. Despite this, Mike and Anne took on Gladys from her breeder and gave her the chance to prove she could rise to the occasion.
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Now, two years later Gladys has progressed to the penultimate grade in Kennel Club agility and is consistently beating her four-legged peers.
Mike said: "We referred her to Devon & Cornwall Police, who were looking for potential search dogs to train up ready for the 2012 Games.
"Gladys passed all of the tests and would have been accepted but for her disability, which the police considered, was too much of a risk."
Gladys won the jumping and agility classes at the Fitzpatrick Dogfest weekend, a celebration of active dogs and the specialist dog orthopaedics and neurology work done at the Surrey centre.