A Worksop woman and her prized pooch put their best paw forward to scoop a major prize at Crufts.
Michaella Dunhill-Hall and her Japanese Shiba Inu, Shoji, placed third in the prestigious Best in Group award for the Utility Group.
“It was a really beautiful group of dogs and I was really pleased to be a part of it. It’s been absolutely fantastic,” said 19-year-old Michaella.
“It was very daunting at first because he’s a young dog, so going into the group ring in at Crufts is a big deal. But once you’re in, it really does feel like a ring and you relax into it.
“Shoji is from Japan, I imported him at four months old and he came a very long way to Nottinghamshire. It was a shock to the system for him with his different surroundings but I trained him and brought him up.
“He’s a typical samurai, as they say in Japan. Although I think he pretends to be serious a lot of the time.”
An estimated 27,000 pooches visited the NEC during the four-day event run by The Kennel Club, with just under 21,000 dogs from 220 different breeds competing for a chance to win Best in Show.
Visitors had the chance to learn about 200 different breeds at the Discover Dogs zone, crossbreeds competed for the Scruffts crown and the Friends for Life award demonstrated the unique relationship people have with their dogs, and the important role man’s best friend plays throughout our lives.
And for Michaella, there was no wiping the smile off her face as she and her beloved two-year-old Shoji enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, with millions watching live coverage on Channel 4.
“As a breed, Shibas make awesome pets and they’ve really risen in popularity - especially in cities,” Michaella added.
“I’ve been coming to Crufts since I could walk, and Shiba-wise, Crufts is a very lucky show for us.
“I think we’ve had about every single place now, so I’m very grateful to the judges and the fantastic crowd who made all this possible.”