A dog lover from Godmanchester is gearing up for a starring role at Crufts next month after making it to the final of a major award.
Terri-Anne Walker, 42, and her 11-year-old dog Billy will contest the final of the Scruffts Crossbreed Competition after Billy scooped the title of Most Handsome Crossbreed Dog at the semi-finals at London’s Earl’s Court last November.
And while Billy’s looks caught the judges’ eye, his significance in Terri-Anne’s life runs much deeper.
Terri-Anne, an intervenor carer for deafblind charity Sense, has been deaf since birth meaning Billy plays an important role in helping her with day-to-day tasks.
Ahead of the duo’s next adventure, to the NEC for the show on March 6, Terri-Anne’s mother Christine said the two were inseparable.
“Billy absolutely loves Terri-Anne to bits, he goes everywhere she goes, they are just best friends,” said Christine, who lives in Offord Cluny.
“They bonded really quickly when Terri-Anne first met him when he was 11-months-old.
“He wakes her up in the morning, he goes to work with her, lets her know when the phone is ringing and alerts her when there is danger. A couple of years ago, he wouldn’t let her go into the house as he could smell that there was a gas leak.
“Another time when Terri-Anne was driving, drivers were beeping at her but she couldn’t hear but Billy jumped up to tell her there was smoke coming out of the back of her car. He is a very special dog.”
Scruffts caters for crossbreeds – whose parents are of two breeds, or a mixture of several breeds, with the other five categories named Child’s Best Friend, Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch, the Golden Oldie, the Best Crossbreed Rescue and Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme (GCDS) Crossbreed Dog.
Billy has traces of Havanese, although the Walkers are unsure which breed he’s crossed with.
Christine added: “Terri-Anne was absolutely thrilled when she got to the final, they both really enjoyed the semi-final,” added Christine.
“It will be the first time she has taken part in Crufts, but she won’t be fazed by it all, she is more excited.
“He is very handsome, more so when his hair is cut short. She would be over the moon if they won.
“She rides horses and wins prizes with them and Billy is always following them around so it would be great if they could win something together.”