A Sandwick woman and her seven-year-old dog will compete at Crufts in a Scottish team this week – for the fifth time together.
Sally Sanford and Lace, her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, will take part in the rally event on Thursday at the NEC in Birmingham.
The pair are part of a Scotland team who will face Wales, Northern Ireland and four English regional teams in the inter-regional rally competition.
The rally course sees dog and handler work as a pair to navigate a course of between 10 and 15 different exercises.
Ms Sanford said the competition was always “a step-up”.
“You’re asking the dogs to do stuff that isn’t that complicated for them, but it’s the handlers who need to be able to multi-task, to concentrate in the moment and navigate their way around the course.
“You need your head in the game.”
But she said that was one of Lace’s strengths, and said he had finished second in his event previously.
The pair are hoping for another strong showing, but with Crufts taking place for the first time since March 2020, she said there were some uncertainties.
“None of us know how busy Crufts is going to be this year,” she said.
“I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a degree of trepidation.”
She said that she was excited for the return of the “enormous” event, though, and hopes Lace will be able to inspire Scotland to better their previous best performance of third.