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Crufts, here we come... TOP TEAM Emma,17, and Yolande qualify for the greatest dog show in the world.

Byline: Ross Thomson

A teenage student showed dogged determination to win her place at this year's Crufts.

Seventeen-year-old Emma Pirrie has made it through to the world's greatest dog show along with her own prized pooch - sheepdog Yola, also known as Yolande the Panda.

Nursing student Emma is the youngest person in Crufts history to be competing in the Heelwork to Music freestyle category.

She said: "I was speechless when I found out I had qualified.

"I have been to Crufts before and watched from the audience but it will be amazing to there as part of the competition.

"I am looking at it as a great experience. I'm there to have fun and enjoy myself.

"I will have people down there supporting me so it will be brilliant to be part of it all."

Emma, from Carluke, combines training with Yola at her dog training club in Blantyre with studying nursing at the University of the West of Scotland in Hamilton.

The teenager admits it can be hard juggling all of her commitments but believes qualifying for Crufts has made all the sacrifice worth it.

"It is quite hard to fit everything in," said Emma.

"I just do as much as I can and try my best. You have to try and fit everything in.

"We got Yola when she was only three months old and she will be four by the time we go to Crufts.

"She is so clever and has a brilliant manner with people and other dogs. "She's just a star."

Emma and Yola will also be competing in two other events at Crufts organised by the The Young Kennel Club (YKC). Proud dad John couldn't be more delighted for his daughter ahead of the big event, which is held from March 8 to 11 at Birmingham's NEC.

He added: "Emma had to qualify from a semi-final in Coventry so we were over the moon when she managed to make it. Her trainer actually thought she could have scored higher but we're just hoping she finishes as high as she can.

"All the family are so pleased for her."

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Publication:Wishaw Press (Lanarkshire, Scotland)
Date:Jan 31, 2018
Words:354
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