For over 100 years, Crufts has been the domain of primped and preened pedigree pooches - but this year a scruffy rescue dog stole the show.
Olly, a five-year-old Jack Russell terrier found instant fame when the moment he took a tumble and face-planted during an agility jump attempt at the world’s biggest dog show was captured on camera.
His owner, Karen Parker, says: “I didn’t think he could top last year’s performance, when he ran into the crowd rather than around the course. He’s like that all the time, he’s insane! One of the presenters showing the clip on TV news said, ‘We should all have a bit of Olly in us’ and I thought ‘I don’t think you need that!’
“My friend lives in Australia and she saw him on the news there, he’s everywhere.”
Olly was taking part in the rescue dog agility display event when his excitement got the better of him and he forgot the years he’d spent honing his craft at training classes and did his own thing instead.
Joined in the ring by Karen, Olly gives a hint of his true agility ability when he gets to the weave poles and performs a perfect few, but his flawlessness is fleeting, and he next runs under a piece of equipment that should be an over.
His enthusiastic attempt at the A-frame obstacle, which sent him flying over the top, won chuckles from Blue Peter legend Peter Purves, who was commentating on the event: “Wrong way through. Oh well, doesn’t really matter, does it?!
“Oh, what a nose dive! And he couldn’t care less. Here we go, wahey! That’s one of the best shots I’ve seen in a long time!” he added, laughing all the way through.
Fans will be relieved to hear that the wayward dog has been given the all-clear by a vet, and enjoyed a relaxing massage shortly after skidding across the arena floor head first.
“He had such a great time,” says Karen. “We’re already looking forward to next year!”
Olly celebrated winning the hearts of the nation by tucking into some tasty sardines on Friday evening.
From zero to hero
But Olly’s life hasn’t always been so fun-filled. At just six weeks old he was abandoned by the gates of our Hertfordshire rehoming centre near Kimpton inside a cat carrier. Thankfully we found him before he could escape and rushed the tiny pup inside to safety.
Karen had spent a year looking for her new pet, and believes they were meant for each other: “I had lost my lovely Lurcher girl who was my world, and I needed to find my new best friend. Dogs just don’t live long enough.
“I saw Olly but another family had already booked to come and meet him that weekend. On the Monday morning I phoned up, before the centre was even open, and they told me ‘sorry, but he’s down as reserved’. They checked the list and he had been reserved to me! The other family had decided not to have him and I was next on the waiting list.”
We named Olly ‘Loki’ while he was in our care, after the Norse god of mischief; perhaps a sign of the fun-loving adult dog he would become.
Their first meeting may have put off some owners, but Karen was already besotted. She remembers: “He humped my foot, he completely ignored me and I thought ‘this is my naughty dog’! I love him so much.”
He joined the Parker family at 10 weeks old.