Phoenix rises to the challenge at Crufts

Pam Clarke with her prize winning Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Calvenace Fat Bottomed Girl For Flaxela, or Phoenix (S)

Pam Clarke with her prize winning Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Calvenace Fat Bottomed Girl For Flaxela, or Phoenix (S)

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A RIPON couple are looking forward to a summer of success after their home-bred puppy took a prestigious prize at Crufts.

Pam and John Clarke’s Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, called Calvenace Fat Bottomed Girl For Flaxela, or Phoenix for short, was named best puppy in breed at the dog world’s top show.

Pam and John were delighted with the win, especially as it was Phoenix’s last chance to compete in any show as a puppy. She reached her first birthday only four days later, meaning she is now too old for the puppy classes.

Phoenix’s success in the ring is a long way from the Clarke’s everyday life in Ripon.

“She hasn’t been formally trained so she has been around the ring hanging off my skirt bottom before.

“Most people see her filthy, covered in mud, just out of the river and chasing rabbits.

“My dogs are just ordinary dogs, but cleaned up for a dog show.

“Dogs at the shows have to be fit so I walk them for about two and a half hours a day, so quite a lot of people see us when we are out.

“We go all over – Boroughbridge Road, the canal, the racecourse, Hell Wath, Fountains and along the Ure and the Skell.”

The Clarkes took dog showing up as a semi-retirement hobby after leaving their businesses, newsagents Clarkes of Kirkgate and Chinnery’s Cafe.

Their first wheaten terrier was Phoenix’s sire Loofahsa Scaramouche, or Buzz.

They took Buzz to puppy training classes where another Ripon dog lover, Shirley Barton, spotted his potential and encouraged Pam to take him along to their first dog show.

“It was Shirley who really got us into it.

“She encouraged us, and came along to a few shows with us.

“At his first show Buzz won best puppy, and because he did so well we just carried on.”

Now it’s Buzz’s daughter Phoenix who is taking all the prizes.

Since her Crufts triumph she has won best junior bitch in her breed at the West of England Ladies’ Kennel Society show, and the Clarkes are looking forward to the summer showing season, and hoping for some more success from their dogs.