Amy and Bertie are headed to Crufts
A young woman who is visually impaired as well as suffering from major health challenges is preparing to take her pet dog into the show ring at Crufts.
Amy Bishop, 20, who lives near Baschurch, is delighted that Bertie, a 20-month-old Cesky Terrier, has qualified to appear at Crufts on March 11, after taking part in a championship show held in Staffordshire in May.
Judges will be looking at his closeness to breed standards, gait and how he holds himself in the breed class and Bertie will also take part in a post-graduate class.
Both Amy and Bertie, who she got as a pet when he was 11-weeks-old, have formed a close bond, and one that she hopes will lead to him becoming registered as a therapy dog – enabling her to visit many places such as schools and hospitals.
She said: "At seven-years-old I was diagnosed with a neurological condition and I began losing my sight when I was eleven-years-old.
"I have a rare neurological disease and am in constant pain causing other debilitating conditions.
"I have grown up with dogs but never had one of my own before.
"I was refused a guide dog because of my deteriorating health and because I live in a really rural area and could not do the required 60-minutes of exercise each day.
"It was a time when I was very unwell because my treatment at a specialist neurological centre in Liverpool had stopped because of the Covid-19 pandemic and I was classed as non-urgent.
"My parents said that I could have dog and Bertie has become a complete companion.
"I cannot go out and drive or go to parties like others my age and it is quite lonely.
"Now when I wake up in the morning Bertie is there.
"We do have a close bond and he will sit with me when I am in chronic pain.
"He is a complete comedian and will sit and look at me and make a noise as though he is talking and it is like having a conversation.
"I have had to take a year off from one-to-one tutoring for my A-levels and have been doing a course to have Bertie registered as a therapy dog which would enable me to volunteer at hospitals and schools.
"It is a six week course at Puppy and Friends in Shrewsbury but I had to halt it because of my health but I hope to pick this up again at the end of March."
Kate Bishop, Amy's mother, said: "We are very proud of what both Amy and Bertie have achieved."